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Dealing with separation

Separating from a partner can be a stressful time. There are many legal considerations to factor in when protecting your finances.

To set yourself up for the future, consider the following upon separation:

Seek legal advice
First and foremost, seek legal advice in relation to access to children, marital property and financial matters. If you are unsure of your legal position or want to look after your divorce, a solicitor can assess your situation and advise you in relation to your legal rights before you start negotiating with your ex-spouse.

Sever joint tenancies
Joint tenancy means that if one of the joint owners dies, the deceased’s share is automatically passed on to the other joint tenant. This means that if you die, your interest may be automatically inherited by your ex-spouse or partner. Severing the joint tenancy will ensure that your share is dealt with in accordance with your wishes.

Update your Will
Before the divorce, any gifts to your ex-partner in your Will remain valid. If you die suddenly during the process of separation and before your divorce is finalised, your ex-partner may inherit your property.

Seek financial advice
You should seek financial advice before making any legal decisions. Seeking financial advice will enable you to make an informed decision about your future.

Know your legal limitation periods
An Order for Divorce cannot be applied for before a period of 12 months of living separately and apart from your partner. Once the divorce order becomes final, a property application must be made within 12 months from the date of divorce if a property settlement has not already been finalised.

Update your Superannuation Death Benefit Nomination
A superannuation ‘death benefit’ includes the money in the deceased’s super account at the time of death plus any life insurance cover through the super fund. If your ex-partner is listed as your beneficiary, your death benefit may be paid to your ex-partner. You should review this situation.

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