You’ve decided to separate. You’ve been sleeping in different places – the lounge, the spare room, in bed with the kids – but the pin has been pulled. There’s no going back, it’s been decided. You’re separating.
There’s been crying and shouting, door slamming and nights out drinking. It’s been coming for ages, and you’re a little bit relieved it’s finally decided. You feel lots of things at varying degrees and at different times including sadness, regret, fear, anxiety, uncertainty embarrassment and that you’ve failed.
What on earth do you do now?!
Tell your parents, friends, kids?? Then what?? Move out?
There’s lots of things to worry about including where you’re going to live, where the kids are going to live; hold on, what on earth do you TELL the kids?! (lots of wisdom here) ? this should be a link to the blog post on What do we tell the kids?
But before you leave the family home – in fact, while you’re trying to figure out the next step – do this ONE THING ?
Gather all your personal documents and the momento’s you want to keep. This is really important. Before you move out, or go stay at your mate’s, get all your personal banking documents and important financial documents. Things might be okay right now (or they might not be!) but before you hand over your key, or things get weird and you’re asked not to come into the house anymore, make sure you get the things that cannot be replaced or are difficult to get copied.
This might include ORIGINALS:
- Your old tax returns
- Your Superannuation statements (take copies of your ex-partners super)
- Marriage and Birth certificates
- Your education certificates, trophies, awards, anything relevant to your resume
- SOME photographs – don-t be greedy here – share and share alike. If your pics are all digital, buy an external hard drive and just copy the whole lot
- Personal gifts from family and friends – this includes watches, jewellery, old photos, collectables, letters at the back of the wardrobe, antiques – if it’s important to you and honestly belongs to you – organise to have it stored somewhere safe until everything is finalised
- Childrens momento’s – remember to share!
This might include COPIES:
- Mortgage documents
- Bank statements for all joint accounts
- Rental receipts
- Passwords for joint banking accounts and other shared online accounts
- Digital photographs – get an external hard drive and ‘copy and paste’
- Rates notices
- Valuation certificates
- Personal and legal agreements
- Lease agreements
- Loan documents – personal, credit card, Interest Free Deals etc
- Insurance documents
- Business documents including bank and taxation documents
- School reports and information
- Birth and Marriage certificates – take copies if you don’t feel right taking the originals
- ANYTHING else that you cannot replace that is important for making decisions about your children and your assets and liabilities
This is not meant to be an activity in divvying up belongings. This is simply about making sure you’ve got as much INFORMATION that you need to move the separation forward when it’s an appropriate time for both of you. The last thing you need is to beg for documents or have to pay for copies, when you know they’re sitting in the filing cabinet next to the printer, but you’ve been fighting and now they’re being used as methods of control.
Hopefully, things will stay rational and peaceful. If you’re one of those families where all hell breaks loose within a few weeks of deciding to be amicable, at least you’ll have the information documents which can make things a little easier.