The separation process: 10 key things to consider

March 8, 2022

When you’re going through the separation process, there’s a lot to think about. Feeling anxious and overwhelmed is absolutely normal.

With so many things to think about, it’s important you prioritise the areas that really matter.

That’s why we’ve created a list of the 10 key things you need to consider or action in the first 90 days of your separation.

Ready to start planning your new normal? You can do it!

1. Understand the process of separation and divorce, and what it means for you

It is never too early to speak to a family lawyer to get clear on what’s involved in untangling the relationship, get answers to some of your immediate concerns and understand your next steps.

Talking to a family lawyer is not about signing up to a legal battle.

Quite the opposite, a good family lawyer is focused on helping you solve any problems and come to a resolution as soon as possible, without going to court.

Talking to a good family lawyer helps you become more informed about the separation process and your options, so you can make informed decisions about your future.

2. Update your passwords

Change your personal passwords for your phone, devices and all email, social media and financial accounts such as PayPal and internet banking. 

3. Remove devices and email access

Remove your email address and mailbox from any shared iPads, computers or other devices that multiple family members can access to ensure that any communications you have with your family lawyer are kept confidential.

This will also help to minimise the risk of your children seeing any communications between you and your Ex during the separation process.

4. Record your date of separation

If you’re receiving a family benefit or allowance from Centrelink, you have 14 days from the date of your separation to inform them of your change of circumstances. This is still an important step to take if you’re living separated under one roof to minimise any risk of a debt arising.

5. Do your budget

Before you can make any plans to stay or leave the house, you need to understand what your income and expenses are, as this will be relevant to whether you can move out or rent.

As part of this you need to identify if you have enough money to financially support yourself and your children and if not, then financial support from your Ex (in the interim and possibly, the medium-term) may need to be discussed with your Ex.

6. Work out if you’re eligible for Centrelink pensions or benefits

You may be eligible for a single parent payment or family tax benefit from Centrelink now that you will be assessed on your single income.

While you might not want to receive benefits in the long-term, this may be an option to consider while you’re getting back on your feet.

7. Consider what child support you can receive

Child support is a bit of a minefield. The liable parent (i.e. the one that has to pay child support) only has to pay the assessed amount and does not legally have to contribute to other expenses for children such as education, extra-curricular activities, healthcare and private health insurance.

In saying this, you and your Ex can come to a private agreement on child support payments, which includes the payment of additional expenses for your children to make sure they can continue to enjoy their school, activities, and lifestyle.

At this stage, don’t jump into applying for an assessed amount until after you’ve had a conversation – discussed below – with your Ex about the financial support of your kids

The majority of the people we work with come to their own agreements on child support, or a combination of the child support assessment as well as other child-related expenses.

We recommend identifying what the child support assessment would be so you know your worst-case scenario and can start to factor this into your decision-making, as well as the conversations you have with your Ex moving forward.

We’ve dedicated a whole guide to exploring your child support options so it would be a great idea to grab a copy and work through the worksheet here.

8. Detail your children’s needs and commitments

Make a detailed list of your children’s needs, commitments (including their weekly routine) and expenses such as school fees, uniforms, stationary and school-based activities, extra-curricular activities, healthcare (including allied health, optical, dental and pharmaceutical) and any other needs your children may have. 

Make sure you include the cost of these child-related expenses and average it out across a month and week so you can get clear on the details for your conversation with your Ex. 

9. Plan where you and your Ex are going to live

Are you going to continue living under the one roof until you have a final agreement, or sell the house?

Sometimes, it can be less disruptive for the primary parent and children to remain living in the house until a further agreement can be reached about what you’re going to be doing with the house.

Sometimes, people want a fresh start, or don’t want to be reminded of the separation, so they want to move out as soon as possible.

There is no perfect answer, however, if you might want to try to keep the house in the settlement, then it may be best to consider staying in the house. Talk this over with your family lawyer, particularly if you’re not going to be able to meet the full mortgage repayments.

Another option is nesting. This is where you and your Ex share the house and take turns living there with the kids and stay elsewhere when you’re not with the kids. This takes a lot of good communication and clear boundaries around what this will look like and how it will be reviewed and adjusted. 

10. If you’re not going to stay in the house, what are your options?

Could you live with your family or will you rent? How long will you need to source a rental? How will you pay the bond, removalist costs and purchase any furniture required?

When you’re ready here a few things we can help you with…

You can book in a FREE 30 minute Clarity Call to discuss your situation and get answers to the issues causing you the most stress right now.

You can download our How to Survive the First 90 Days After Separation Guide which is jam-packed with easy, actionable steps you can take in the early days of your separation as you start to uncover and plan how you want to move forward.

You can connect with us on Instagram and Facebook where we share heaps of tips, tools and strategies to support you on your separation journey.


This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or any other professional advice.

Feeling unsure where to start?

Let us guide you through what’s involved in untangling your relationship and give you the tools to set yourself up to move forward.

Feeling unsure where to start?

Let us guide you through what’s involved in untangling your relationship and give you the tools to set yourself up to move forward.

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