Prepare for your meeting with a lawyer about separation and divorce

Getting separated and divorced is a challenging time. To be fully aware of your rights and choices you should get legal advice.

Before your lawyer can properly advise you, they need a full understanding of your personal circumstances and financial situation. Below are some tips on how to prepare for your first appointment with a lawyer.

Dividing the property

One of the most important questions to be resolved is: how will the property, money and belongings be divided between you and your ex-partner?

Begin by making a list of your assets and debts, including personal loans, and details of any superannuation entitlements, including the name of the fund and the date you or your ex-partner joined the fund. Take this list to your first legal appointment.

Financial support

In a long-term relationship, often one partner financially supports or contributes to the financial support of the other. When you separate or divorce, you need to consider how you will manage financially.

Some things to think about before talking to your lawyer:

  • What financial support will you or your ex-partner need?
  • Do you have a Will or life insurance policy? If so, take a copy of those documents to your appointment for review and update.


Another issue to be sorted out after separation or divorce is: what will be the care arrangements for any children of the relationship? The best approach is to think about what is in their best interests.

Questions you need to address about a child may include:

  • Where will the child live?
  • Where will the child go to school, preschool or childcare?
  • How much time will they spend with the other parent?
  • How or when will the child communicate with the other parent?
  • Does the child have any special needs such as a disability, that needs to be addressed?
  • What financial support will your children or your adult children need after you separate?

Start thinking about these issues beforehand, and you will be better prepared for your first family law legal appointment.

This page was last updated on July 17, 2017