Has starting the New Year led to being suddenly solo? The joy and cheer of the Festive Season sadly is often followed, as the New Year approaches, by relationship breakdown. Over my 25 years of practice as a Family Lawyer I have seen this situation unfold for many couples. Becoming suddenly solo is daunting, it’s sad. It’s scary, but . . . after the initial shock and grief are past, it can also be the start of a brand new life — a new you.
Finding yourself suddenly solo can be overwhelming. Avoid being overwhelmed by setting small achievable goals as you restructure your life.
There are a few things that should be high on your list of priorities to help you get through those early stages.
Being suddenly solo means you are responsible for everything you once shared with your former partner. The first change you should make is a change to all your passwords; to everything. The grief and hurt of a relationship breakdown sometimes can cause otherwise very reasonable people to become very unreasonable folk. By changing passwords you avoid unauthorised access to bank accounts, your Facebook page and your email account.
If you don’t have your own bank account already, open a new account to receive your income. If you share a joint account used for all the joint expenses, with direct debits attached for mortgage payments, insurances and the like, then you will need to contribute your share of the joint expenses that relate to ownership at least in the short term while you and your partner work out where to from here. If your financial arrangements are complex, you should seek legal advice on any restructure.
If the option is available to you, particularly after a long relationship, investigate whether you are able to open a separate superannuation fund. Change the beneficiaries to your current superannuation fund if your former partner is a beneficiary. As with every to-do list, there is also a do-not-do list. One of those “do-not-do” things is do not make a binding death nomination at this point.
Being suddenly solo means you should consider changing your Will. A Succession Lawyer can give you advice on ensuring your Will reflects your new circumstances.
Let go — let go of the guilt the negative thinking and the resentment at the inevitable change in your life. Accept that being suddenly solo is not your fault. Neither is it your former partner’s fault. By accepting that your life situation has changed, you give yourself a better chance at a happier new life. Seek professional assistance from a qualified counsellor or psychologist to help you let go of negative thinking and come to terms with this new life of yours that is yours to make the best of in the way that you choose. Lastly, be kind to yourself, be kind to your former partner and be kind to your family. This will make it easier for all concerned to adjust to your changed circumstances
Gather together your personal papers, your passport, tax returns, superannuation statements and bank statements. Having these documents collected not only will make you feel more organised, but it will also make it easier for you to obtain legal advice on the property division aspects of becoming suddenly solo. Seek professional advice from an experienced family lawyer. An Accredited Specialist Family Lawyer can advise you on the best way to formalise any agreement reached or help you negotiate an agreement. An Accredited Specialist in the area of family law is your very best source of information about available resources.