Going Through a Separation? 3 Crucial Ways to Protect Yourself

If you’ve ever had a serious, long-term relationship, you’ll know how deeply intertwined lives can become – which is why a separation often makes for a difficult, painful, and volatile experience.  Like any situation, though, you can take steps to mitigate your hardship.  What follows is a guide to solving the pressing, but easily avoided problems that can arise in any separation.

1. Contact Your Bank

A breakup almost inevitably means financial stress.  Joint bank accounts, joint credit cards, joint home loans.  All these things can compound your suffering at a time when former partners can do things that are otherwise totally out of character, like withdrawing large sums of money from a joint account or using the credit card recklessly. 

The best thing to do is to contact your financial institution and inform them of your situation.  This way, they’ll alert you to any suspicious behaviour by your ex-partner.

2. Change Your Passwords

If the breakup was not on good terms, you should consider changing the passwords to your online banking and social media accounts.  A spurned partner can be vindictive, so this is a critical step towards ensuring your peace of mind. 

3. Update Wills & Other Legal Documents

If you have a will, it is vital that you update it as soon as possible after a separation.  Otherwise, your former partner is still entitled to whatever property you have left them under your old will.  If you’ve had a will drafted by a law firm, let them know that you will need to make changes to it.  You won’t necessarily need an entirely new will – your firm may simply delete clauses and insert new ones, so this needn’t be a costly endeavour.

The other major document that you may need to revoke is an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA).  If you and your ex-partner are each other’s Attorneys, then you will need to tell the law firm that drafted the documents that you need to revoke them.  Do this ASAP, because while the EPOA is still in place, your partner can sign legally binding documents on your behalf.

There is a myriad of different concerns to bear in mind during a separation, but these are a few of the most important.  If you’re unsure about your next step is, seek legal advice – it can be the difference between a relatively painless breakup and a whirlwind of heartache.