Checklist: practical steps to take on separation or divorce
Going through a separation can be a challenging process. As well as attending to the legal formalities such as divorce and property settlement, there are many other practical tasks that you need to attend to that are often overlooked.
After a separation, divorce or property settlement, details such as marital status, surname, address and preferences relating to personal and estate decisions often change. What this means is that you need to notify multiple parties of these changes.
The following list is not exhaustive, but can help you make a start on the practical tasks that you will need to attend to.
- Change details on your driver’s licence.
- Change details on your passport.
- Notify important institutions such as Medicare and your private health insurer to update their records and re-issue your card.
Banking and insurance
- Close all joint bank accounts and open accounts in your name only.
- Cancel any supplementary credit card or other supplementary card issued to your ex-partner.
- Cancel jointly held house and contents insurance policies and car insurance policies and take out new ones in your name only.
- As well as updating your car insurance policy, you should notify the NRMA and update your roadside assistance details.
- Update your road toll tag and cancel additional toll tags.
- Change all your passwords, including those for banking, internet, iTunes, PayPal, computer, Windows, email, Amazon, eBay, share trading accounts and all social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Beneficiaries and executors
- Change the executor and beneficiaries of your will. (For more information, please see How do you choose an executor for your will? – the horror story edition.)
- Ask your ex-partner and any of your ex-partner’s family to remove you as executor under their will.
- Change your beneficiaries in your superannuation plan and your life insurance policy.
Guardianship and powers of attorney
- Change your power of attorney and guardianship arrangements. (For more information, please see Revoking a Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardian in NSW and Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship – the horror story edition.)
- Revoke your role under any power of attorney or guardianship of your ex-partner and any of your ex-partner’s family.
- Remove your ex-partner as your emergency contact at your workplace, doctor and elsewhere.
- Remove yourself as your ex-partner’s emergency contact at your workplace, doctor and elsewhere.
- As well as notifying Medicare, you should notify Centrelink and the Tax Office.
- Notify your children’s school.
- Notify your doctor.
- Notify your accountant.
- Notify providers of utilities – gas, electricity, water, phone and internet.
- Update your membership of clubs and organisations.
- Update your membership of any loyalty schemes.
If you are leaving the family home
- Take all your financial and personal papers.
- Take all your personal items and photos.
- Redirect your mail.
- Notify every other organisation and service provider you use of your new address.
- If you and your ex-partner leased a property jointly, speak to your managing agent to remove yourself or your ex-partner from the lease.
If you are staying in the family home
- If you remain in the former family home, change the locks.
Reverting to your maiden name
If you want to revert to your maiden name, you just need to update your details with the organisations and service providers you use, and on cards such as your driver’s licence, credit card, healthcare card, passport, membership cards and loyalty cards in your former married name.
If you legally changed to your married name with Births Deaths & Marriages, you will need to change it back to your maiden name through the same agency.
For more information please see Does marriage or divorce automatically revoke a will? and What on earth is a divorce doula?