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Whether you are considering separating from your partner or your relationship has come to an end, there is no doubt that this is a difficult time. Taking a few moments to stop, breathe and think can help you to make better decisions during the initial stages of the separation process.

Following are some helpful tips to keep in mind when going through a separation.

Stop. Breathe. And think before you press send

Your ex knows exactly which buttons to push – we understand. But before you press send on a missive, just stop for a moment and breathe. More often than not, communicating when we are enraged, upset, impassioned, hurt or frustrated is not the best option. Consider, as your finger hovers fervently over the send, that any message you send will be out there forever. Where that message ends up next is anyone’s guess: on your ex’s computer screen, your child’s iPad – or even before Court.

There is a growing number of instances in which social media and smart phone screenshots are introduced as evidence in Court proceedings. So, before you fire off that message, think, Is this how I want to be portrayed in front of the Court? Would I be happy with this comment being used as evidence?

Protect your online privacy

Most individuals have at least three email accounts, a Facebook page, Twitter account and more! While you were in a relationship with your partner, you may not have thought twice about letting them know your login details or passwords to various online accounts. However, now that you’re separated, it’s time to change your various passwords so your ex cannot access your personal information and private communications.

If you are really concerned about your ex being able to login to your accounts, it is best to set up completely new and secure accounts. And don’t forget that in this modern world, we also have to worry about Cloud-based systems which can make accounts and backed-up information accessible on multiple devices.

Secure your sentimental items

Think about the small items you love and cherish, like your mother’s wedding veil, your first university jumper or your under 9’s grand final netball trophy. These are items that have significant sentimental value to you but are worth next to no money to someone else. Securing these small items may give you peace of mind as all too often during a separation important items can become ‘lost’ or ‘disappear’ without explanation. In the long run, this could save you time, stress and unnecessary costs in recovering a sentimentally important but low-value item from your ex.

Be wary of informal property settlement

While an informal arrangement can be the most cost-effective and convenient method of dividing your property, keep in mind the future uncertainties. No matter how amicable things feel now, circumstances can change. Maybe you will get a new partner or job. Maybe your ex has a stash of money that you only find out about afterwards.

Informal property settlements are not binding and therefore your rights are at risk. Even if you have agreed to settle amicably, there is no harm in formalising your arrangement to safeguard yourselves against future unknowns. There is no substitute for independent legal advice from an experienced family lawyer.

At Gowland Legal we are experts in the area of Family Law. Our professional team offers an empathetic, personalised service with a focus on time and cost effectiveness. To make an appointment please call 9569 3000or send us an email at contact@gowlandlegal.com.au.