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What happens now

Community Member
So I have posted before about my marriage, wanting to save it. Well that hasn't happened and as of tonight it is over.
What do I do now we have a house mortgage, van etc loans together. Where do I start?
44 Replies 44

Community Member

Hi Shyone

I'm sorry to hear that things did not work out the way you would have liked.

As to your question, "where do I start"? I would suggest you go and get some legal advice. There are many family law lawyers that will offer a free 30-60 min consultation; they will guide you through the process. I would suggest that you see a lawyer that specialises in family law. Do not go to a criminal lawyer; there is a difference between family law and other areas of the law.

If you are uncomfortable seeing a lawyer, have a talk to a counsellor at Relationships Australia. RA are a community based not-for-profit organisation that can help you through the legal process of separation. They also offer counselling service to help you copy mentally. I've used them and found them to be very caring and helpful. Depending on your financial situation the RA fees are zero to low.

Hear is the RA web link: https://www.relationships.org.au/ Just ring the number at the top of the page.

Notwithstanding the above, if the marriage is over then you and your husband are entering into a period of "separation". You will want to diary the official date that you separated; this is an important date.

While separated one spouse will normally leave the home, usually the husband if children are involved. However, that being said, it does not have to be that way. Both of you can continue to live under the one roof while separated; if that is an arrangement that you can live with.

Keep in mind that while separated, you are still married and a lot can happen over the next 12 months. As the tautology goes "it's not over until it's over".

Please, get some legal advice from a lawyer or talk RA. If nothing else it will give you peace of mind. There is nothing worse than venturing into the unknown blindfolded.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Shyone

I'm sorry your marriage is over. Big hugs.

I echo Mr Paul's advice above.

I have posted support for others going through similar, read those too if you like.

If your husband is abusive then my suggestions would be different.

Some BRILLIANT helplines are:
* Women's Legal Service
* Law Access
* Relationships Australia for Mediation in both parenting and property
* Uniting for (quite confidential) counselling
* Uniting for the Anchor program for children going through parental separation
* 1800RESPECT who can refer you on
* Federal Circuit Court helpline for advice on legal processes (not legal advice)
* Your local Women's Health Centre - they usually have lots of referral processes and Courses available to support you.

Record your separation with Centrelink but they will ask you what Care % each parent has with the children. If you are living in the same home then Centrelink will advise you on what that means % wise.

If you get a PP you do not have to sign it immediately. You can take the PP to a lawyer to get advice before signing, it's not legally binding. If you have ANY concerns about shared care then you can get one and have it converted to Consent Orders in Court as long as both parents are in agreement. If you trust your ex then great. If he trusts you back, even better!

If money is tight, even with property, ask about Hardship applications with every paid service. I had every one granted with property. They saved me thousands. Public Schools offer them too, just FYI.

Change all your passwords. I didn't realise that I could change the password on a joint mortgage account (eye roll) and joint access remained.

In a nutshell going from mild to greatest cost:
* Settlement and Shared Care of children worked out without any other support, just each of you advising C/link etc and writing your own PP available online but costs some money (EVERY THING costs money in this)
* Successful Mediation resulting in PP and property Settlement
* Unsuccessful Mediation resulting in one or both parties getting a 'straight to Court' Certificate
* Each of you get lawyers and thrash it out, outside of Court. I avoided this because of my knowledge of exH and his motivations, plus he could have come back for more money later if there were no Orders in place.
* Self representing in Family Law Court
* Legal rep in FLC. A Children's Lawyer may be appointed that you both will have to pay for or you apply for a Hardship Application.

Best wishes


Community Member
Thanks EM,
Stupid question, what is PP?

Community Member
Thanks for your help. I have touched base with beyond blue, relationships Australia who then put me onto DV assistance as my husband apparently falls under the narrsists (sp?) banner and I have a road in front of me. But from all of this I have found out that there is a lot of assistance out there for me.
So thank you again for your advice

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Shyone

Sorry, back now. PP is a Parenting Plan. No such thing as a stupid question... ever.
My bad, sorry.

You are a CHAMPION phoning those numbers and you will get through this.

I had a Narcissist but there was psychopath added. You can Google YouTube clips on "how to divorce a narcissist" and it's GREAT advice for moving forward.

If you are still living with ex then it can be a dangerous time to separate from such people. Make sure you keep safe.

Once you get your head around what type of person you are separating from, if you are still thinking of divorce and need more support, please chime back in. I have seen and supported countless victims of DV in separation and divorce.

Because you have had feedback that ex is a narcissist, I would most definitely apply for Orders in Family Law / Federal Circuit Court - FLC / FCC. But the steps before that are outlined in my previous post and a little below.

You have to attempt Mediation (for parenting and property) before Court anyway. It COULD still be successful and is the cheapest way. But if there is DV as you have hinted, it may be deemed as such by a Mediator in eg Relationships Aust. If this is the case then you are given an exemption certificate. This means you have the right to lodge in FLC / FCC as Mediation failed before it got started.

The Court process is another thing entirely. You can always phone the Court itself, they are amazing in outlining the legal process for you. No legal advice though. Go to Women's Legal Service (WLC) sorry for all the acronyms.

If you are in agreement about the care arrangements for the children (which Courts emphasise is the highest priority) and even if Mediation "fails", you may still be able to download and print out a PP, both get legal advice (Women's Legal Service is free) and eventually just lodge these in Court to get Orders. THIS is what you need to make the children's arrangements legally binding.


Community Member
Thank you to you both.
I may have rang those numbers but now I can't remember what to do.
As of 3pm this afternoon my husband has walked out leaving me with everything to sort out. I don't know where to start. I have a real estate coming tomorrow afternoon.
It is finally hitting me and I am sitting here like a blubbering mess, not because he has left but more because I don't know what to do. I don't know how I am going to get through sorting it all by myself.
I am feeling lost and alone.

Hi Shyone,

I am so sorry to hear about what happened today; you must be feeling very overwhelmed and it is understandable why you're so upset.

I hope that you can continue to reach out on these forums for support, and if you are able to call a friend or loved one or have them come over that might be helpful too in feeling a little calmer.

There has been some great advice in this thread, above all please just focus on taking care of yourself mentally and physically. If you need to talk, you can always give us a call at 1300 22 4636 also.

Community Member
Thanks Sophie,
When I reached out the other day and rang I felt the woman could pass me over quick enough.
Sadly I don't have friends or family (something else that is my fault) to talk too and that is why I feel so alone right now, no one to physically talk to about nothing in particular or just company.
I am trying to be strong for my kids and not show too much emotion but I am really struggling tonight.

Hi Shyone,

Really sorry to hear that you had such a negative experience with the helpline. If you still feel like you'd like to talk, I hope that you can still feel comfortable posting on the forums, trying our webchat or even calling the helpline again later to speak to someone different. For talking about difficulties related specifically to abuse, you can also speak to 1800 RESPECT or state-specific services listed at the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.

On the other hand, sometimes it can also help for us to put our attention somewhere else and to do something to help soothe or relax us. Things like taking a bath, writing out our feelings in a journal or a letter, and doing a guided self-compassion meditation can also be ways that let our feelings settle down so we can feel a bit calmer.

I hope that you can be gentle with yourself tonight and recognise you are going through a really tough time right now.