If you’ve separated with your partner you may not know what you should do. Below is an essential separation check list designed to provide you with important information you may need when going through separation.
- Call your bank and ask them to change your joint accounts to require a joint authorisation for withdrawals.
- Update your Will, Power of Attorney, and Superannuation Binding Death Benefit Nomination.
- Consider severing your joint tenancies.
- Record the date of your separation and mark a date 12 months from that date to apply for your divorce.
- Book an appointment with your lawyer for pre-liminary advice.
1. Call your bank and ask them to change your joint accounts to require a joint authorisation for withdrawals.
Most banks are happy to do this, and it will give both parties peace of mind that no one will unilaterally drain the joint accounts until you have reached an agreement on how the money will be divided.
2. Update your Will, Power of Attorney, and Superannuation Binding Death Benefit Nomination.
Separation is different to divorce, and separation does not automatically invalidate your Will, POA and Binding Death Benefit Nomination.
Most super funds have their own form for updating your nomination that you can download from their website and complete yourself. Changing your Will and Power of Attorney can be more complicated, and you should engage your lawyer to assist you. If you don’t have a Will or Power of Attorney, our experienced team of wills and estates lawyers can create one with you.
3. Consider severing your joint tenancies.
When couples purchase properties together, they usually register their ownership as a ‘joint tenancy’. The legal effect of having a joint tenancy is that if one of the parties passes away, their share in the property automatically goes to the surviving owner. This happens regardless of what your Will says.
To stop the automatic transfer, you need to ‘sever’ the joint tenancy. It is advisable that you speak to your lawyer about whether you should severe your joint tenancies.
4. Record the date of your separation and mark a date 12 months from that date to apply for your divorce.
As stated above, there is a distinction between your date of separation and your divorce. The law will not permit a divorce order to be made less than 12 months from your date of separation.
5. Book an appointment with your lawyer for pre-liminary advice.
Book an appointment to discuss your separation with your lawyer sooner rather than later. Your property settlement is a separate event to your divorce. There is no reason to delay talking with your lawyer. Your lawyer can advise you of your rights and assist you to get your affairs in order.
Should you wish to speak to one of our lawyers, the family law team at FC Lawyers is here to assist in your family law legal matters and to answer any queries or concerns you might have. If you have separated with your partner, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Contact our team today to discuss any of the above information.
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