Now I'm Separated! Who Pays for What?


At Clelands Lawyers our family law team is often faced with the exact question set out above.  That question is relevant to both husbands and wives, males and females, heterosexual or same sex relationship participants.  When parties do decide to separate, there are often significant and important financial consequences that flow.  For example, one party moves out of the common residence (or matrimonial home) and must find alternative accommodation and will often have to rent a two or three bedroom house if there are children who move out with them.  All of a sudden, there are two sets of bills to pay, such as electricity, water, gas and, to a lesser extent, groceries.  There is rent and there is the mortgage, car loans and credit card debts.  If both parties are working, these questions may not take on as much significance as they would if one party is not working and has been solely reliant on income generated by their former partner.  The complex issues are made all the more difficult when emotions are running high, there is fault (or perceived fault) involved in the separation, and in some circumstances where both parties have been involved in a family business and one is then excluded from that business and therefore from the financial benefits that flow from ownership of it. 

The law has a number of available remedies that need to be carefully considered, such as payment of child support and payment of spousal maintenance.  Other remedies available include orders such as one party having sole use and occupation of the common residence (or matrimonial home), lump sum payments from bank accounts as partial property settlements and also injunctions preventing one or both parties from disposing of assets or withdrawing large sums of money from bank accounts, redrawing on lines of credit or incurring further significant debts, such as credit card liabilities. 

When these issues are swirling around and you are getting advice from family and friends, we urge you to stop, think and pick up the telephone and speak to one of the family law team at Clelands Lawyers.  We offer practical, timely and cost effective advice when it is most needed.