Separating from your partner can be emotionally exhausting. To make this process a little less daunting, it is important to obtain legal advice in relation to your situation. A failure to do so can often increase costs and delays in the long term.

As such, it is beneficial to seek legal advice if you are considering separating from your partner, for several reasons.

Living arrangements

Contemplating different arrangements after living together with your partner and children for a number of years can be overwhelming. Depending on your financial circumstances, a number of options may be available to you and your children.

The main decision is quite often whether to remain in the family home or seek alternative accommodation (by way of renting or staying with family or friends). Before you make this decision, you should take into account the following considerations:

  • Your financial situation;
  • How amicable your relationship will be with your partner after separation;
  • Whether there are any safety concerns; or
  • Whether there is alternative accommodation available for you and your children.

When there are children involved, the primary concern is to ensure they are provided with a stable, safe and healthy living environment. If you and/or your children have been subjected to family violence, you may be able to apply for an Intervention Order, to remove your partner from the home. If there are safety concerns in relation to your separation, you should raise these matters with your lawyer or, if necessary, the police.


Knowing how (or how not to) communicate with your partner after separation will undoubtedly benefit you and your family. If possible, it is important to communicate in a constructive and productive manner with your former partner. Volatile and heated communication can often worsen your co-parenting relationship and hinder positive negotiations over property matters.

Always maintain open communication channels and try reach an agreement as amicably as possible. Discussions regarding parenting or financial arrangements with your former partner should not be held in front of the children.  

Stay off social media! Never post or share information related to your separation over social media. This will only be detrimental towards resolving your family law matter. Posts on social media can be used as evidence in Court at a later date.

Parenting arrangements

Discussions around parenting arrangements following separation can be difficult and complex. Receiving advice from a lawyer prior to separation can provide you with options for implementing stable parenting arrangements. You will be given advice in relation to the rights of your children, your partner and yourself, tailored to your particular situation.

This will assist in implementing plans for changeover of the children. For example, if there is a risk of conflict between the parents at changeover, consider involving a third party to assist, or changeover at a public place (for example McDonald’s restaurants are often used).

Interim financial support

People are often uncertain regarding how they will financially support themselves and their children following separation. This is particularly the case if you were the homemaker or stay-at-home parent, and your partner was the primary income earner throughout the relationship.

It may put your mind at ease that there are many options available to ensure that you are provided with interim financial support up until you formalise your property settlement. For example, you may be eligible to request maintenance payments from your former partner.

Know your rights

Knowing your rights and entitlements is enormously beneficial in taking the first step towards separating. Receiving this advice will give you an idea of what you might be entitled to, by way of a division of your assets (and/or liabilities).  

Certain information particular to your situation may also have a major impact on your entitlements. For example, inheritances received, compensation payments, health issues, income earning capacity, renovations made to the home are all factors influencing what you might be entitled to.

Becoming educated about the different methods for resolving your property settlement, as well as ways in which your settlement can be formalised, may provide you with more confidence around your separation. Knowledge about the legal process will provide a certain level of reassurance, during what is usually an uncertain period.

Watch our free on-demand webinar on separation

If you want to learn more about how to separate safely from your partner, watch our new, free on-demand webinar “Separating from your partner” which explains the legal, financial and practical implications of leaving your partner.