Tips on protecting yourself during a separation

Going through a separation can be stress inducing, and people often wonder what they need to do to protect themselves once they decide to separate from their partner. We have come up with the following 10 things you should follow once you separate, in order to protect your rights as best as you can.

1. Change all your passwords. 

It’s important that you change your bank PIN numbers, internet and telephone banking passcodes and email passwords to ensure money can’t be withdrawn from your account without your consent. It goes without saying that you should also change your social media passwords and have strict privacy settings in place.

2. Check bank accounts regularly and let your bank know that you have separated. 

Check your redraw facilities and joint bank accounts.  If your partner has withdrawn a very large sum of money from your redraw facility or joint accounts you need to act quickly. Even if that hasn’t happened, if you are concerned that large sums will be withdrawn without your consent, you should talk to your bank and see if they will change the account to require two signatures. 

When in doubt, inform your bank in writing that you are separated and do not consent to any money being withdrawn from your redraw facility.

If the worst case scenario has happened, contact AHL Legal and our family law specialists will help you figure out the next step.

3. Put your financial documents and other valuable documents somewhere safe. 

It is not uncommon for these documents to disappear after separation.  Take them to work or leave them with someone you trust.  If you are concerned that your partner may take your children overseas without your permission, put the children’s passports somewhere safe too. Should the risk be too great, contact our family law specialists to look at the option of obtaining a court order to place the child on the airport watch list.

4. Safeguard your sentimental things and valuables. 

In the event of a big argument, put objects of sentimental value and valuables away somewhere safe, so it can’t be broken or thrown away in a fit of rage.

5. Change your will. 

Most people don’t realise that separation doesn’t affect Wills, which means your partner is still the beneficiary of your assets if you pass away. You should also reconsider the beneficiaries listed in your insurance policies and superannuation fund.

6. Revoke any power of attorney.  

If you have appointed your spouse or partner as your Attorney it is preferable that you revoke that Power of Attorney as soon as possible.

7. Keep a diary. 

You may need to recount events to a lawyer including conversations you had with your partner.  Maintaining a diary will assist you in avoiding unnecessary confusion.

8. Keep things as civil as possible. 

Nobody wants to spend a lifetime fighting with a former partner.  The biggest victims are the children. Keep things as friendly as possible for the sake of your children. Remember with proper legal advice a lot of uncertainties regarding divorce, child custody and asset division can be resolved. Your biggest fears and sources of acrimony may even turn out to be legal misconceptions. AHL Legal has family law specialists who can explain the separation process to you with clarity.

9. Consider whether you need to change your postal address.

If you are concerned that your former partner will read your mail, consider obtaining a postal box or redirecting your mail to a friend or family member.

10. Get legal advice. 

You may never need to use a lawyer but make sure that you are fully informed before making life altering decisions. AHL Legal has family law specialists who can answer any legal questions you may have.