Following these critical steps will ensure that you are fully prepared for the divorce process ahead, saving you money and time, but most importantly alleviating some of the stress and uncertainty involved in the difficult process. Receiving advice early from a divorce lawyer in Melbourne is the most important and first step to take when divorce is inevitable. Obtaining a trusted divorce lawyer early in the process ensures that your interests are legally protected throughout the process.
Call upon your support network
Moving forward with a divorce is an extremely emotional and difficult time in your life.
Your divorce lawyer should be part of your support network, so you can alleviate some stress knowing that your legal needs are being taken care of. They can also recommend or provide a financial advisor to assist you throughout the process. Family and friends will also be a crucial emotional support during this time.
Take an inventory of all of your personal assets
In Australia, divorce law applies the equitable division of assets.
This means that your assets may not be divided equally. It is, therefore, important to gather evidence of your own financial and other contributions to the marriage. This includes contributions made as a homemaker and primary carer of any children.
You should also set up a new bank account separate from other joint accounts with your spouse and apply for a credit card in your name only, so that you can establish your own credit rating. Following a divorce and separation financial checklist is a great way of ensuring you have considered all assets throughout the process.
Determine the amount of temporary maintenance and child support you may need
Obtaining a child support assessment fosters cooperation between separated parents and takes into consideration the income of both parents, the cost of raising children and the amount of time each parent cares for the children weekly. Securing funds for legal and other professional fees that are available to you, is a proactive step towards ensuring you are able to negotiate a fair settlement. Working with a lawyer through the financial steps to be taken throughout the process will ensure the best outcome throughout this process.
Organize your new living situation
It is important to discuss the living situation you will have throughout the divorce proceedings. You should decide what your goals are for your living situation and proceed accordingly. Your lawyer can help you decide how to best position yourself from a legal perspective, for the living situation you ultimately desire.
Documents and records to collect
It is important to note the date of separation as the law requires a year of separation before you are able to apply for a divorce. To help your lawyer and team throughout the process it is important to collect and store important documents including:
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificates
- Bank and superannuation statements
- Insurance policies
- Tax returns
- Car registration documentation
- Loan documentation
- Mortgage documentation
These documents should be securely stored and supplied to your legal and financial advisors. An asset stocktake calculator can be a useful tool to help determine the value of your assets prior to seeking advice.
You may also want to hire private investigators to document information pertinent to your divorce.
Changes to your will and insurance policies
If you have private health insurance, talk to your fund about options available post separation. It is important however not to remove your spouse from the family policy without prior agreement. It is important to also take this time to review your will and other health directives and make necessary changes.
Going through a divorce is undoubtedly a difficult process, with significant personal and financial implications. Fortunately, there are ways to help alleviate the difficulty and stress involved. The following steps are critical to follow when preparing for divorce, to help protect your personal and financial interests.