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10 Things to Consider When Separating from a Partner (Make Informed Decisions)

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10 Things to Consider When Separating from a Partner

There’s much to consider when separating from a partner, whether in a de facto relationship or married.

Here is a checklist of some things to consider.

Key takeaways

  1. Note your date of separation to more easily show your divorce eligibility.
  2. Explore any tax concessions you may qualify to use.
  3. Determine who will be the primary carer of the children.
  4. Think about whether you want a formal or informal property settlement.
  5. Consider who will stay in the marital home after separation.
  6. Seek family mediation before pursuing legal proceedings.
  7. Research how your insurance provider handles separated couples.
  8. Compile financial records to assist with creating a property settlement.
  9. Change your passwords and pins for your privacy and safety.
  10. Revisit your will to ensure it reflects your new circumstances.

10 things to consider when separating from a partner

1. Note separation date

Australian family law states you must be separated for at least 12 months before legal divorce. The exact separation date can be challenging to pin down as there’s no need to register a separation formally.

Creating a written record in an email or text where both parties acknowledge the date is helpful. This makes it simpler to prove your divorce eligibility.

2. Tax implications

Many people don’t consider the tax implications of divorce. There are certain concessions you may be eligible for concerning property division.

Parties can defer the capital gains tax (CGT) usually payable on transferred assets. The family home may be exempt from CGT when sold as well.

Also, child support and spousal maintenance aren’t treated as taxable income.

3. Who cares for the children?

One of the biggest concerns when organising parenting arrangements is which parent the children will live with.

The parent who’s best equipped to care for the children can depend on many factors. Is one parent moving to a distant location? What living arrangements will each parent have after divorce? Ideally, the parent who can provide the most stability will become the primary carer.

4. Formal or informal property settlement

Settling property matters can be a complex issue. Different ways to organise property division may or may not involve the Court.

Informal arrangements may be more accessible but don’t provide legal protection. Settling property matters through the Court or a lawyer is generally safer for both parties.

5. Who lives in the house?

Consider who will stay there after separation unless you sell the family home. Who will be caring for any children? Which party has more significant financial means? Your decision will be based on different factors.

‘Separation under one roof’ allows ex-partners to reside in the same house while living separate lives. If both parties are struggling financially, this may be a good option.

couple separation

6. Try family dispute resolution

Family mediation is an essential tool in ensuring the divorce process remains civil. Marriage counselling can help avoid conflict and allow parties to understand each other. Counselling is also crucial in divorce proceedings when a marriage is under two years old.

7. Insurance policies

Insurance companies have different rules when it comes to handling policies after separation. Policies may be transferred to one party or split between spouses. Sometimes, certain benefits in the procedure can be divided, and others cannot.

8. Establishing financial records

A clear picture of your finances is essential when preparing for a divorce. The Court must value the marital asset pool to rule on a property settlement. Departments like Services Australia, Australia’s child support agency, must also understand your financial situation to determine any financial assistance you need.

Collate information about assets like bank accounts, stock portfolios, liabilities and cryptocurrencies. Also, ensure your ex-partner fully discloses their finances as well.

9. Change passwords and pins

Privacy is a significant concern after separation. One party may seek to keep tabs on the other. This is easier to do if they have access to online accounts. Changing pins can also ensure an ex-partner doesn’t tamper with assets like bank accounts.

10. Review your will

If you created a will during your relationship, your partner is likely included as a beneficiary or executor. After separation, revisiting your will in light of your new circumstances is useful.

Couple divorcing


Separation is a difficult time. There’s much to deal with, but hopefully, these tips will make the process easier. Please note that if you’re experiencing domestic violence, or witnessing family violence, contact the police immediately.

You can also check this guide to file a divorce online

If you need help with family law matters, contact us for a free discovery call.

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Luke Shanahan Family Law

Luke Shanahan


Luke Shanahan is the Principal Solicitor of Shanahan Family Law. Luke has been practising family law since 2008 and started his firm in 2014. He has three beautiful daughters and a supportive, gorgeous wife. In his spare time, Luke enjoys playing tennis and trips to the beach with family and friends. 

Luke is dedicated to providing the best possible legal representation for his clients. His experience and passion for family law set him apart from other solicitors. You only have to read their 5-star reviews to understand that.

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