Part 1 – Emergency Financial Action
A relationship breakdown can be very difficult with high levels of stress and anxiety. This can be the case even if you are the one who instigated the separation and most probably both you and your former partner are upset, confused, worried and possibly angry and scared.
This is also the time where you will be required to make important decisions that will have significant effects on you and your children’s future as well as your financial security.
It is absolutely essential that you put into place some simple measures to ensure that your financial interests are protected. In summary these include:
• Obtain the best legal advice that you can afford. Getting this wrong can cost you a small fortune. If at all possible you should use a lawyer who is a Law Society Accredited Family Law Specialist.
• Change all passwords and pin numbers for those bank accounts, internet banking, telephone banking, online shopping, personal and work computer log-in codes, online access email passwords.
• Obtain from your spouse all credit cards that have your name on it as well as Medicare cards, private health insurance cards, pensioner concession cards, membership cards and so on.
• If your spouse is moving out of the family home make sure you get all house keys, garage door openers, letterbox keys, etc.
• Subject to your Solicitor’s advice, freeze all joint accounts to ensure they can’t be entered by one party or the other without the other one knowing.
• Subject to your Solicitor’s advice, freeze any stockbroker accounts, credit cards and financial company cards or shop cards.
• Enquire with your Solicitor about amending your Will, Power of Attorney and Medical Guardianship.
• Contact the Trustee of your Superannuation Policy or Personal Insurance Policy and change the name of your nominated beneficiary.
• Ensure that you retain the originals of any personal documents such as Birth Certificates, Passport, Tax Returns and other financial documents and at least copies of other important documents such as Title Deeds, Share Certificates, Bank Account Statements, Marriage Certificates, Tax Information.
• Compile a list of assets including cars and other vehicles, property, jewellery, furnishings, collections, superannuation, bank balances of personal and joint accounts.
The above list is not exhaustive and what specific action you need to take will depend on your individual circumstances. You should obtain legal advice as quickly as possible before taking any drastic action.