Where do you begin once you’ve decided to separate? What should you do to make sure you survive separation?

When someone faces a separation after a long marriage or relationship, the problems can seem overwhelming. There are often many issues to face as well as practical things to do. It is hard to know where to start.

Typically, a good place to start is consulting with your family lawyer who can help you establish your priorities, work out a plan of action and put it into effect.

But there are many other things that you can do to help yourself.

Six Things To Do To Help You Survive Separation

1. Ensure Your Privacy

One of the first things to consider in separation is the privacy of your communications. It is wise to set up a new email address and redirect all mail.

2. Arrange Your Finances

While most couples can work out their financial arrangements in a reasonably amicable way, in other instances, where trust has evaporated, it may be tempting to take a more hard-headed approach.

Most lawyers would advise against this and instead suggest a more balanced approach where trust and cooperation are given every chance of success.

The best way to arrange your finances is by gathering together all important financial documents while they are still available to you.

This includes all bank records, employment and income records, superannuation, trust and company information for you and your partner and details of financial transactions.

3. Secure Your Bank accounts

It may be important to secure your bank accounts to make sure money is available to you when you need it to provide for your future expenses, accommodation and perhaps legal costs.

Make sure you have a good source of income or enquire as to Centrelink or other potential entitlements.

4. Know Your Debt

It is also very important to know the full extent of any line-of-credit, joint credit card facilities, mortgage redraw facility or other sources of debt, and to make sure the other party cannot increase your debt without your knowledge. So freezing or securing such accounts, mortgages and lines of credit can be very important.

5. Gather Your Personal Documents

Gather together your important personal documents such as Wills, Enduring Power of Attorney and insurance policies. Consider changing them; including death benefit nominations and beneficiary nominations.

6. Document Your Valuables

Consider photographing valuable items in the home and removing some particular items to secure locations.

Also, it makes sense to investigate available accommodation if you need to move at short notice.

So without promoting problems, you can take some sensible action to make sure you’re aware of your financial situation and entitlements.

This will allow you and your lawyer to take the necessary steps to protect your financial position, set up a favourable resolution of your financial affairs and help you survive separation.