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Preparing for Separation & Divorce

Dylan Chaplin-Burch

If you are contemplating separation, or have recently separated, it can be difficult to know where to start.

To help you plan for your first appointment and to ensure you make the best possible use of the time with your lawyer, we have put together a list of things you should bring with you to your first appointment or, better still, to send to your lawyer in advance of meeting with them:

Background

  1. Your full name and date of birth and place of birth, date of arrival in Australia (if applicable) citizenship status
  2. Your health
  3. Your Partner’s full name and date of birth and place of birth, date of arrival in Australia (if applicable) citizenship status
  4. Your Partner’s health
  5. Date on which you first started living together and the place (State) where you have lived together
  6. Date and place of marriage, if applicable
  7. Date when you separated, if applicable
  8. Dates of any periods of reconciliation, even if just for a short time
  9. Your employment history throughout the relationship (whether casual/part time/ full time*, employer name, role, income) including any periods of unemployment
  10. Your Partner’s employment history throughout the relationship (whether casual/part time/ full time*, employer name, role, income) including any periods of unemployment
  11. Any other income – child support, government benefits, family assistance etc.

Children

  1. Full name and date of birth and place of birth, date of arrival in Australia (if applicable) citizenship status, FOR EACH CHILD of the relationship/marriage
  2. Full name and date of birth and place of birth, date of arrival in Australia (if applicable) citizenship status, FOR EACH CHILD from either your or your Partner’s previous relationships
  3. Day care / kindergarten / school details for each child
  4. Any health issues for any of the children
  5. Who has primarily looked after the child/ren, or has this been shared?

The Asset Pool

  1. A list of the assets, liabilities and financial resources (including potential inheritances, distributions from family trusts etc.) in your name, your Partner’s name, your joint names, or held in the name of any related company or trust. For example:
Asset DescriptionOwnershipEstimated ValueLiabilityNet Value
House {address}H / W / Joint$1,000,000($500,000)($500,000)
Motor Vehicles :
Bank Accounts :
– Mtge Offset
– Savings
– Credit Card
($10,000)
Investments :
Shares
Share Loan
Superannuation:
Other


Contributions

  1. A list of who had what, and estimated value, at the start of the relationship
  2. A list of any other lump sums received during the relationship, the source of the funds and the amounts
  3. A summary of any improvements made to the assets, how were they funded, who performed the work

Further Reading

Australian Financial Review »  How COVID-19 is rewriting rules on marriage and relationships