Thinking about separation or divorce? Gabriella Pomare, Partner at The Norton Law Group Family Lawyers, shares her advice on first steps…"I’m passionate about assisting separating couples find resolution at one of the most difficult times in their lives. My priority is empowering clients with knowledge to help them make decisions. Knowing what to do leading up to, and following, separation, and developing an action plan, helps to move forward with greater control.”
Access legal advice
Every family situation is different so seek specialist family law advice as soon as possible. This ensures you’re aware of all legal avenues available to you and hopefully enable an agreement to be reached without going to Court. Getting early legal advice saves you time and money as you’ll create an action plan specific to your circumstances.
You may need urgent legal help with issues of domestic or family violence, if urgent spousal maintenance is required or urgent injunctive relief is needed to protect assets. We highly recommend using a specialist family lawyer.
Get your paperwork in order
Compile legal and financial documents and keep them in one place. This includes your marriage certificate, copies of tax returns and bank statements, and documents relating to property and other assets. If you don’t have access to documents, don’t stress. Your family lawyer will help you get them.
If you have a joint bank account, protect that money. If you withdraw funds, make a note of how they’re spent as it may be considered later. Open your own bank account and pay your earnings into it as soon as possible.
Update your documents
Get in touch with your super and life insurance providers to let them know you’ve separated and nominate an alternate next of kin. This is vital, as if anything unfortunate happens, your entitlements could be paid to your ex. Estate planning is often forgotten during a separation. Update your Will and appoint an alternate executor and beneficiary if your current one lists your ex. This also applies to financial or medical Power of Attorneys.
Think about the children
Try not to discuss details about your separation in front of your children. Kids pick up on conflict and seeing you working together helps them remain calm and worry-free.
For more information and to organise a chat with Gabriella and her colleagues at The Norton Law Group, head to thenortonlawgroup.com.au
2/137 Blues Point Road, McMahons Point or call 02 9560 6811
This article was first published in northsider Winter 2022