Separation or divorce is a complex process – what should I do?


Many decisions must be made when a couple decides to end their marriage.

Practical issues

Many practical issues must be addressed as part of a separation.

  • Setting up separate residences and often finding somewhere to live in an emergency
  • Managing money and property problems
  • Make arrangements for the care and maintenance of your children.

Couples must also deal with the reactions of their parents, siblings, and friends to the separation.

Separation involves many changes in one’s life. Most people find it difficult to move on to a new home, relationship, and life.

You can get support throughout the process of separation.

The following are free resources for advice and information:

  • Advice Line 1800 050 321 Family Relationships
  • Family Relationships Online website
  • Federal Circuit Court Website
  • The Family Court website
  • Department of Human Services website. Please find out more about child support and financial entitlements, and download their helpful publications. 

Disputes over children and property

Disagreements about the care of the children or sharing of property are two of the most frequent areas of conflict and disagreement after separation.

The current family law presupposes equal parental responsibility, except for violence and child abuse cases. This does not mean that there will be a 50/50 split of parental responsibility. Arrangements will depend on what is feasible and best for the child.

Family Dispute Resolution

Relationships Australia provides a Family Dispute Resolution Service (required in cases that do not involve violence or child abuse) to couples who conflict issues like child contact. Family Dispute Resolution offers clients a safe and supportive environment and a way to talk to one another to help them resolve their issues and find acceptable solutions.

Relationships Australia staff have been trained in how to involve children. Parents can often understand how their children feel and how they have been affected by separation to help them think through solutions that will be in the best interest of their children.

The staff at Relationships Australia can also help couples work out their differences in property sharing. More can be shared if it is done calmly and amicably.

Family dispute resolution is voluntary, and decisions are not binding. Everyone has the right to voice their opinions and discuss concerns with anyone present. Participants should be open to listening to each other and willing to compromise, negotiate and agree to a solution.

Family Dispute Resolution Certificates

To prove that a family dispute resolution attempt was made, you will need to have a certificate from a registered family law practitioner if you are divorced.


Children and separation

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