Getting Ready to Leave (Part 2)

Posted on 01 March 2012

In Part 1 of our series ‘Getting Ready to Leave’ we discussed whether you were personally prepared to leave, and whether your partner and children were prepared for this to happen.

What do you need to consider once you have considered the emotional aspects of your situation?

Arranging Your Finances to Leave

It’s an unfortunate fact that following a separation, many people realise that their finances are entangled with their former partner’s.

There are several important aspects that you should consider, and seek advice on, if you are planning to, or have recently left your partner.

It is important that you look at all of your property and liabilities to ensure that they are in your sole name and if not, seek urgent legal advice about what to do. We have covered some typical issues below

Your home or investment property

If renting, is your name on the rental agreement? Are you still going to be liable for rental payments once you have left the home? You should check with your real estate agent or landlord.

If you own the home or and/or investment property, there are several things you may need to immediately attend to. You should seek legal advice immediately.

Many people’s home is their most important asset.  Is your name on the ‘title’ (official deeds of ownership) for the home? What sort of tenancy do you have? If you are not on the title to the home, seek legal advice immediately. Of course the same questions apply to any property you or your partner owns as an investment.

Is your name on any mortgage secured over the home or investment property?  Is your former partner able to redraw on the mortgage without your knowledge? You should check these details with your bank.

Your bank accounts

Do you have an account in your sole name to put your income or your savings into after you separate?

You should also carefully consider whether large amounts of money are in joint accounts, and if so, whether or not one person is able to withdraw that money without the knowledge or consent of the other person.

Your income

Where is your income coming from?  If you are going to be claiming government benefits, ensure that you carefully disclose all assets and liabilities to Centrelink to ensure that you are not going to run into trouble further down the track.

What about our business?

If you have an interest in a business with your partner, it is very important that you seek advice from your accountant and solicitor immediately to ensure that your business interests are protected and to minimise harm to the business during the process of finalising financial arrangements between you and your former partner.

Child Support

You may be liable to pay or receive Child Support.  It is worthwhile contacting the Child Support Agency to discuss your situation with them.  Once again, it is important that you disclose all of your assets and liabilities to them so that you can receive the correct information and also so that you are not creating a situation where you can potentially have a large child support liability.

Are you responsible for your partner’s assets or liabilities?

If you have signed a guarantee, or are a co-signatory, and associated in any other way with the assets or liabilities of your partner, you should obtain legal advice and pursue a property settlement as a matter of priority.

If you require legal assistance with your family law matter, please contact us.

Keep checking our blog for part 3 of ‘Getting Ready to Leave’.