For some women, deciding to leave and then planning to leave an abusive or violent relationship can be one of the most overwhelming and emotionally suffocating times of their life.
Throw children into the equation and a whole different set of challenges exist.
Not only is there emotional work to be done, there is also an extraordinary amount of paperwork to be taken care of, particularly for financial settlement, divorce proceedings or court hearings.
It is for these reasons that I always advise my clients to get together as much paperwork as possible before leaving the relationship or the home itself.
Documents you may wish to gather include:
- birth certificates
- marriage certificates
- passports, visa and residency papers
- bank statements
- business documents
- your baby's blue book (if in NSW)
- a copy of your ex-partner's drivers licence (if safe to do so)
- rental agreements or mortgage documents
- title documents
- details of any loans
- Centrelink documents
- other legal documents
- details about investment portfolios
- copies of police records/reports
- insurance related documents
- superannuation information
- tax paperwork
- employment related contracts
Obviously it is important to consider your own unique circumstances when deciding what documents you may need to prepare.
In some cases you may be able to obtain originals of these documents but in many cases, photocopies will also be fine.
This part of any separation can be risky and potentially dangerous, so it is essential that you consider your personal safety as you gather documents.
It can also be a good idea to store any documents you gather either with a trusted friend or family member or, alternatively, with your solicitor.
If you need support with leaving an abusive or violent relationship, there are many services available.
- Erica Rundle offers counselling sessions and can provide both practical tips and emotional support (call 0412 707 242). You can also contact Pop In in Bowral on 02 4872 1229 or you can reach out to DV Connect on 1800 811 811 or 1800Respect on 1800 737 732.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: