Video Transcript

Hi, welcome to Video 2 of Module 1.

My name is Leanne Abela. I'm Director and Partner at Pearsons. And if this the first video you've seen in the series, I strongly recommend you go back to the beginning and have a look at everything else we have to offer in the series. And you can do that by going to the Pearsons' YouTube channel or to the Pearson's webpage.

One of the first things that you can attend to, which will cost you nothing, and will be very effective, is to change your e-mail password. Most relationships result in parties knowing one another's password and so the first thing that can go wrong is that you're almost eavesdropping on each others' conversations.

When you're separating or thinking of separating, it's important that you retain your privacy. So by changing your password, you'll ensure that your partner doesn't have the ability to download some of those e-mail communications with other people, or friends, or even your lawyer and use that to your disadvantage.

The last thing you want is to be worried about communication that you may have undertaken without knowing that somebody was going to use it against you. And this could happen immediately or later on into the process at a time when you've completely forgotten that you even sent the e-mail. So this is something that is free, will cost you nothing, and that you can do to protect yourself and give yourself some peace of mind.

The next thing you could attend to, which is also very important, will involve a visit to the bank or some online work. And that is, freezing your mortgage balances, freezing draw-down facilities, and freezing some credit cards.

So most people these days operate with a mortgage balance or a mortgage limit, and then have their draw-down facility. And in most of the cases we've seen, one of the knee-jerk reactions to a separation is for one of the parties, either because they're worried about how they're going to cope financially or sort of a way of punishing their partner, if you like, is to draw-down against the mortgage and take a load of money out.

Now they might take the money out because they need to setup furniture at another property or because they're worried that their partner is going to do the same thing and draw down against the mortgage.

So one thing you could effectively do is to contact the bank, explain that you've separated, and what you don't want, is what can be seen as theft but isn't really, in terms of drawing-down against the mortgage or overdraft, and thus really reducing what there will be to fight about in the basket at the end of the day.

If you find you are unable to do this without the assistance of a solicitor, then by all means go and see family lawyer straight away and hopefully there won't be any need to go to court. It could be dealt with by way of a letter or some communication. But, ultimately, if a court order is necessary, this can be done, and it can be done very quickly and efficiently.

The third thing which needs to be attended to often occurs when one of the parties has the assets in their names. So in family law, we don't really take any weight in relation to whose name the properties are in but if the property is in your partner's name and not in your name, it's important that you protect your interest.

You can't, effectively, have a fight over an asset that no longer exists. And it will no longer exist if your partner transfers it, sells it, or gives it away. So how do you ensure that doesn't occur? By lodging a caveat against the property.

Now, you can do this yourself by visiting the Titles Office in Melbourne and lodging a caveat against the property and there's a government fee involved, a fee, a duty. And that will be approximately $100 or you can pay a lawyer to do it and that will be a total cost of around $300 to $350. And that will ensure that your partner can't borrow against the property, transfer it, give it away, or take other securities against it.

Changing the locks, a lot of people come and approach us about changing the locks because their partner has already left or they want their partner to leave. Changing the locks is not really an effective way of stopping somebody coming back into the property.

But if your partner has already left you may want to change the locks just to ensure you have privacy and that you're not worried about them returning when you have taken occupation of the property.

Doesn't give you a greater entitlement to the asset, doesn't mean your partner can't come back, but it does give you some security and so we do recommend, generally, if you've had occupation of the property that you change the locks.

Dealing with a will. Now we know this is a difficult time, the time of separation. It's scary, it's confusing, there's lots going on in relation to the children and property. But unfortunately, people do die during the course of a separation and prior to the assets being divided.

And, in the work we've done over the last 26 years, there have been many instances where people have passed away unexpectedly and tragically, leaving their family most upset because there was no will in place. And what it would mean, if you didn't have a will is that your clothing, jewellery, finances, assets, would all go to your estranged partner, which would leave a bit of a mess for your family and in particular your children.

So what we recommend that at the time of separation you make a new will and that you also change the beneficiaries of your superannuation fund. At the moment, your beneficiary of your superannuation fund is likely to be your partner and it's important that that's changed to either be your children or whoever you want to leave your superannuation entitlement to. And a solicitor will help you work through your will and deal with that superannuation issue if you want them to or you can simply contact your own superannuation fund.

In some instances, at the time of separation, or leading up to separation, a party might be fearful of separating because of the reprisals that might occur. If you are in fear of your own safety or that there may be damage to the property if you separate, we would recommend that you contact your local magistrate's court and ask for an appointment to apply for an intervention order.

Intervention orders are a subject of their own and so if you're interested in that particular topic, I suggest you go to a later video in these modules which will cover that topic completely.

So, if you feel that you're ready and you're able to move on to the next video, I recommend that you do, and the next video will deal with essential documents that you'll need to gather so that you're well-equipped during this entire process, or if you're still thinking of separating, so that you have everything you need when that time comes.

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at http://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check so that we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may
not be able to talk to you.

Whatever it is that you choose, its our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you know where you stand.

 

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