Family law for mums is often a period of high anxiety and stress. The worry of where the children will live, who will get what property, who will pay for what, can all appear daunting.
At O’Sullivan Legal we have a wealth of expertise and experience to assist our clients.
Contact us for your free initial consultation.
In the meantime adopting the following strategies can be useful to assist in making the transition to a new life as seamless as might be achieved in the circumstances of your case.
- Get legal advice
Forewarned is forearmed.
- Ensure your personal welfare and physical security
Separation is stressful for the adults, in most cases it is heartbreaking and intolerable for the children. The family home must be a safe haven for all. Separation can be a volatile environment.
Protection from harm is the paramount consideration. If you are the one breaking the bad news about the split, and you are worried about the reaction you might evoke, then consider doing it in a safe place. In the past clients have asked us to communicate the news.
In some cases changing the locks will be warranted.
If you vacate the home that is likely to produce economic insecurity. It will be disruptive for the children. In such cases it is possible to approach the court to seek an order for yours and the children’s exclusive occupation.
- Call the Child Support Agency
Upon separation you should call them up and ask them about a child support assessment. Ask them to collect it on your behalf.
- Call Centrelink
Call them up and tell them about your changed relationship status. This can mean you receive correct amounts of things like family tax benefits and child care allowances.
- Inform important people/organisations of the change
The school, kindy, g.p etc.. should have the contact details they hold for you updated upon the change in your personal circumstances.
- Place the children’s passports in safe custody
Australia, when considered internationally, has a high rate of international child abduction.
Once a child is removed from our jurisdiction it can be a very lengthy process to bring them home.
When a child is removed to a country which is a non-signatory to the Hague Convention, then the likelihood of bringing them home is reduced.
Unless you have done so already, put the children’s passports in a safe place, as with a friend or your solicitor.
Such precaution is warranted especially when an ex has ties outside the Commonwealth of Australia.
- Secure personal data
I regularly hear from clients that they think their ex has hacked, or is trying to hack into their emails, computer etc.. Despite such action being illegal, that unfortunately will not always apprehend a vengeful ex. Technology evolves rapidly. There are new kinds of apps coming out regularly. We recommend our clients change passwords on computer devices, bank accounts, phones etc.
Where there is heightened concerns about spyware and the like, an audit of your hard drives by a local computer expert might be warranted. Loading the most recent antivirus software should also be done.
- Keep access to some funds
Upon separation it is a good idea to have access to some emergency funds. Circumstances can change and it is best to be prepared.
- Update your banking details
Passwords should be changed and a review of your accounts undertaken.
If you are a primary card holder and your ex a secondary card holder, consider cancelling the secondary card.
Make sure unilateral access to the funds in your joint accounts is not available.
Have your salary/family benefits payments etc.. directed into your sole account.
- Secure your important documents
Secure your important personal documents like your: Income tax returns and assessments; group certificates; certificates of title; Wills; Power of Attorney, passport etc.
- Secure your jewellery and personal items of importance
We all have items of a personal nature which we value. Photo albums, heirlooms, jewellery, collectables etc.. . If you keep these items in your possession or place them with a family member for safe keeping then you can have peace of mind so they won’t be ‘lost’. The family law cases are replete with examples of property which gets ‘lost’ or ‘damaged’ or ‘stolen’.
- Update important legal documents:
- Update your Will.
- Update/revoke an existing Enduring Power of Attorney. This will ensure your ex, in certain circumstances, does not have control over your health and financial affairs.
- If joint property is held, changes to land title registration might be indicated.
- Change your death nominations on superannuation and insurance policies.
- Take care
There are resources available in the community to assist with the transition through this life change.
We have a trusted referral network we can draw upon to assist you.