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  • Gabriella Ferraro

All I want for Christmas is – Not You! Dealing with separation and divorce after the holidays

Did you know that more marriages end after the holidays than any other time of year?

Following the festive season each year are a rush of divorces, with many couples separating by the first working day in January.

From a family law perspective, there is a distinction between divorce and separation.

Separation is the breakdown of the marriage. It is usually considered to have taken place when one of the parties moves out of the marital home, however in some cases couples can live together under the same roof even though their relationship has broken down.

A divorce is the more formal, legal end to a marriage and couples must have been separated for a minimum of 12 months before they can apply for a divorce.

You may find yourself in this position after Christmas and New Year and ask yourself – what next?

  1. Avoid making large withdrawals of funds or transfers of property, whether jointly or separately owned by you and your partner. It is fine to withdraw amounts that are necessary for normal day to day living expenses.

  2. Contact your bank and block large withdrawals or redrawing by your partner on joint accounts. Open new bank accounts in your sole name.

  3. Keep a diary of the circumstances of your relationship and separation, including dates.

  4. Make a list of any finances, real property and other assets that you and partner jointly and separately own, as well as details of any companies, joint ventures, trusts or partnerships in which you or your partner have an interest.

  5. Take copies of important documents, including: a. Birth and Marriage certificates; b. Financial documents such as tax returns, pay slips, bank statements, superannuation statements, etc; and c. Registration and insurance certificates for various assets.

  6. Obtain legal advice. For more information and assistance, contact our lawyers at Ferraro & Company on (03) 9311 8911.

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