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A separation can be a tumultuous and difficult time. The stress that results from this can lead partners to do unreasonable and sometimes unthinkable things to one another. To protect yourself after a separation, there are a number of things you should be doing, including the following:
If the relationship ended abruptly and on bad terms, it would be wise to change your bank PIN numbers, as well as any other passwords or passcodes you shared with your ex-partner, such as online banking and telephone banking.
Don’t forget about your social media accounts. Ensure that your privacy settings are in place to avoid a situation where your ex-partner can gain access to your accounts.
Notify your banking institution(s) and check accounts
Do you have any joint accounts? There is the risk that your ex-partner might withdrawal a large sum of money and you need to act expeditiously to prevent this from occurring. Speak with the bank manager about requiring both signatures for any withdrawals from your joint account(s).
It may seem obvious but if you have a redraw facility, do not consent to any withdrawals.
In addition, keep all of your important documents in a safe place so that your ex-partner does not take them – perhaps with friends or family. This includes any financial documents and travel documents, such as passports. The last thing you want is for your ex-partner to take the kids to another country without you knowing.
The same rule applies to your most expensive items. Keep them in a safe place, such as with family. Your ex-partner may wish to hurt you by destroying these sentimental possessions, so protect yourself after separation and make sure that they are protected.
A common misconception about Wills is that once you and your partner have separated that somehow they are no longer entitled as the beneficiary to any assets that you have left to them in the Will. This is untrue. Your will is unaffected by your separation, which means that if you pass away, your ex-partner will technically still be the beneficiary of the Will (to the extent that he or she is entitled). It might also be worth changing the named beneficiaries in your insurance policies/superannuation fund, if need be.
Power of Attorney
Is your ex-partner still your appointed attorney? If so, it would be wise to revoke this power.
Write everything down
Try to record any correspondence you and your ex have. This will assist you in the event that you need to recount anything that has happened since you and your ex separated.
Best Interests of the Children
Keep the interests of the children in mind moving forward with the divorce. Try to keep the peace wherever possible. It is most damaging on the children when things become ugly in a break-up.
Although you are no longer in a relationship, it is always possible to come together and organise a parenting plan that works for all parties. Try and come to an agreement without the assistance of family lawyers if possible. If this is not possible, you should seek legal advice immediately about how best to proceed.
Consider speaking with a family lawyer in the event that you separate from your partner. Prevention is usually more effective than a cure, so consider having a family lawyer draft a Binding Financial Agreement for you and your partner before the unthinkable happens.
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