Relationships can be difficult. Parenting can be challenging. Life is busy. And we have recently had to endure a whole new range of stresses brought about thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
So perhaps it is not so surprising that we are hearing from more people than normal who are thinking about leaving their partner.
Before committing to this life-altering path, it may be appropriate for both of you to attend at marriage or relationship counselling. Using a trained counsellor or a psychologist can assist you and your partner to talk about and resolve your relationship issues. This can be beneficial and has saved many relationships that may otherwise have ended.
If you believe there is truly no hope of salvaging your relationship, then there are a lot of things you need to consider.
If you plan to separate from your partner, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice before commencing down this path so that you have a very clear understanding of your rights, obligations and what to expect. The decisions you make before separation can have a significant impact upon your living and financial arrangements after separation.
Communicating the news safely
Separation can be complex and difficult for everyone concerned, including children.
If possible and safe to do so, your decision to end the relationship should be clearly communicated to your partner. Some people are then able to mutually agree how to go about separating and put into place necessary arrangements for each person and the children.
However, if you or your children are victims of family violence from your partner, you need to carefully consider a plan on how to leave your partner safely. There are a number of online services that can help you do this. A good place to start is Safe Steps Victoria, a 24/7 family violence response centre.
You should immediately report any such violence to the police and apply for an Intervention Order. An Intervention Order can prevent your partner from being within 200 metres of you, where you reside and where you work. An Intervention Order may also have the effect of removing your partner from the matrimonial/relationship home. This will allow you to remain living in the home, without your partner.
Issues to consider
Even if there is no family violence, a separation is regularly very emotional and stressful.
Before you decide to separate you should seek legal advice, and certainly consider the following:
- What financial resources are in place for your financial security?
- What arrangements will be made for the children?
- Who will pay the day-to-day expenses including the mortgage, car loans etc.?
- Who will maintain the relationship home?
- Do you need to withdraw funds from a joint bank account to ensure your financial security?
- Do you need to freeze any bank accounts, to prevent your former partner from accessing funds?
- Should you open your own bank account, and divert your salary into this account?
- Do you need to change the locks at the home?
- Do you have access to financial documents and other information?
- Do the parties retain any cash at the relationship home?
Watch our free on-demand webinar on separation
If you want to learn more about how to separate safely from your partner, watch our new, free on-demand webinar “Separating from your partner” which explains the legal, financial and practical implications of leaving your partner.