10 Tips to Streamline the Split of a De Facto Relationship
Breaking Up Doesn’t Have To Be So Hard To Do
Breaking Up Doesn’t Have To Be So Hard To Do
1. Seek Legal Advice
Some will tell you that getting lawyers involved straight away will inflame a hostile situation or in an amicable situation, antagonise the other party. While this may be the case in some circumstances, it is always advisable to have professional advice on where you stand and what you need to do in the case of joint finances, children and property. It is very important to maintain communication channels with your ex-partner and we are happy to advise you confidentially, tell you what to say and do and what not to say and do, while you initiate the actual contact. Above all, never agree to anything or sign any documents regarding the separation, without taking time to fully consider the content and the outcomes. Wherever possible, consult with a lawyer or at the very least, have a trusted family or friend give a second opinion. You don’t want to make rash decisions in a highly charged emotional state that you will later regret.
2. Address Your Safety
Even the most amicable separations can quickly spiral downwards into hostile territory so it is important that you are personally safe from the risk of emotional and physical abuse. Make sure you have a safe place to live and if you are remaining in the co-habitation residence, have the locks changed immediately.
3. Get Cashed-Up
You will need money and if you have a joint bank account, it is wise to withdraw money from the account asap. But, don’t ‘clear it out’ – you wouldn’t want that to happen to you so don’t do that to your ex-partner. Don’t withdraw more than half the funds until the situation is sorted officially. Even if you feel that more of that money is yours.
4. Prepare an Audit of Joint Assets
Time to take stock and write down all the joint financial assets – bank accounts, credit cards, superannuation, investments, real estate property and other valuables. If you are not 100% certain of all the account numbers and details and you are not in possession of the paperwork and documentation, consult your financial advisor, accountant and/or the bank so you have all the information.
5. Change Your Passwords
Despite all the warnings, many couples still share their passwords on a range of online services – financial accounts, social media sites, internet access and other services. Change your passwords immediately and if you have joint accounts, close them and set up your own individual account.
6. Vaccinate Against STD
That’s Sexually Transmitted Debt and one of the biggest issues to consider when it comes to separating. If you have joint credit cards then you should close them immediately and advise your ex-partner that you have done so. If it is a joint credit card then you are jointly responsible for the debt and if the other party decides to go on a post-break-up shopping spree – oops, you could be paying your share of their indulgences for a long time. If you have cash in a joint bank account, then you are within your rights to use that to pay off the joint credit card balance.
7. Safeguard Valuables
Once you have all the information on joint assets, it is advisable to make a copy of everything and store the two sets of documents in two separate places, outside of the cohabitated residence. Leave a copy with a trusted advisor, lawyer or family. Other valuables of both financial and emotional value have significance also. Items that are important to both of you can become pawns in negotiations so if you have them in your possession, safeguard them. They may be as simple as photos and memorabilia or as expensive as jewellery, artworks and other items of value.
8. Let the Head Rule The Heart
We understand a separation can be a very emotional experience but to protect YOUR interests, and that is the priority, you must try to be practical, sensible and leave emotions out of your decisions. Whether the separation is amicable or hostile, can you really trust your ex-partner or believe everything they say they will do? The simple answer is NO. Yes, we know they loved you very much and we’ve heard the ‘they wouldn’t do anything like that to me’ before. Unfortunately, you probably don’t know the whole story and without living together, you probably don’t know what they are thinking. So don’t presume or assume. Simply go through the practical steps to extricate yourself from the relationship financially and then you will at least be in a more solid position to finalise other issues.
9. Consider the Children
If you have children either together or separately (perhaps you brought children into the relationship), then their welfare is paramount. Seek counselling support from a qualified professional if you feel the children have emotional issues and advise their school of the change in the situation so they are fully aware. Custody and access are issues which should be handled by legal professionals.
10. Look to a Positive Future
It may be difficult to see right now, but in most cases, things do work themselves out. Keep yourself healthy and organised and look to a great future ahead.