Considering separation – what can you take with you?
What if my partner says I will never see my children again if I leave?
This is not true. At first instance, both parents are responsible for raising their children and retain joint parental responsibility unless otherwise ordered by a court or agreed by consent provided it is in the child’s best interests.
My partner says that if I leave, I will not have anything … no property or furniture. Is this true?
What you are entitled to when you leave will depend on how long you were married or how long you lived with your former partner, what money or furniture you brought with you when you moved in together, what contributions (financial and non-financial) you have made to the relationship (such as looking after the children, housekeeping etc) and what you will need in the future.
Remember, safety first!
If you decide you want to leave the family home you should get legal advice first. If your immediate safety (or the safety of your children) is your main concern, you should leave as soon as possible and contact emergency services to assist you such as:
- 000 Emergency services;
- DVConnect Womensline 1800 811 811; or
- DVConnect Mensline 1800 600 636.
What should I take with me if I decide to leave?
- If you leave with your children, it is reasonable to take whatever household items you need to meet the day-to-day needs of yourself and the children e.g. the washing machine, beds and linen, pots and pans, crockery and children’s toys.
- You should take important documents with you like passports, birth and marriage certificates, citizenship papers, tax file number, driver’s licence, health care card, private health insurance documents, bank statements, credit cards and any other documents relating to your personal finances; and.
- Also take your personal belongings with you including items of sentimental value like photographs, gifts, jewellery and items from your family. You can take jointly-owned property, like a car, or money from joint accounts.
Finalising your property settlement
Any property you take will be taken into account when adjusting the property division with your former partner in the future, whether by agreement or by court order. Some items might then have to be given back to your former partner depending on the agreement reached.
If you cannot agree with your partner about the arrangements for the children after separation and feel you need more support in figuring out your best way forward, contact the Family Law Team here at Brookwater Legal and we will provide the support you need to reach the next chapter of your life.