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Separation checklists

Separation is a time of big change and many decisions must be made. It can help if decisions are taken calmly. Drawing up checklists can be a good way to organise yourself at this busy and emotionally difficult time.

Separation checklists

It can be useful to remember that your ex may not feel the same way as you and may have different concerns and priorities. Simply bearing this in mind can avoid complications. There is also the option of mediation which can help when couples can’t agree a way forward.

What kind of separation?

Take some time to consider whether an informal settlement may work best for you or if you want a formal one.

If you prefer a formal agreement, can you reach an agreement with your ex or do you need to get a court agreement?

Living arrangements

The following activities can help you work out what living arrangements will work best:

  • If your children are old enough, talk to them.
  • Calculate the cost of running separate homes. This can help you negotiate what is fair and manageable.
  • Draw a timeline with your ex showing where you are now and where you want to get to. Put in actual dates and list the dates by which things have to be done. This can help you visualise the path ahead.

Looking after children

Asking yourself how you will care for and be responsible for your children after separation can help you keep their needs in mind at a time when this can be difficult. Ask yourself:

  • Will I have regular contact?
  • Can I work with my ex to share responsibility for their clothing, food, health, education and activities?
  • Can I tell them that I love them and I really care about their feelings?

Dividing assets and belongings

A good place to start negotiations is for you and your ex to each list what you think needs to be divided. Then compare your lists. It can help to:

  • Remember that some things can be divided later, perhaps when your children are older or grown up.
  • Understand your reasons for wanting something – and consider how you can communicate this.
  • Consider whether some items might be easier bought again.

Informing people

As well as friends and family, many others need to be informed of your separation. It can be helpful to draw up a list so you and your ex can decide who is going to inform who.

You may want to write your own checklist and include things such as:

  • The children
  • Your parents/friends/relatives
  • Tax office
  • Council tax office
  • Mortgage lender
  • Benefits office
  • Bank/building society
  • Credit card companies
  • Loan companies
  • Health clinic
  • Post Office (if any re-directs needed)
  • Utilities (water, gas, electricity)
  • Telephone/TV/broadband providers

Why not try our ‘Getting documents together’ tool?

Facing the end of your relationship can be traumatic and confusing. Our free tool can help you work out what to do next.

Getting documents together tool

Check your situation with our assessment tools

  • Getting documents together

    You will need to get together a range of information, depending on your current circumstances. Here’s a list of the kinds of things you may need.

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  • Informing others

    There will be a number of people and organisations that you will need to contact and let know about your change of circumstances, here’s a list of who you may need to inform.

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  • Budget Planner

    Use the Money Advice Service's free Budget Planner to put you in control of your household spending and analyse your results to help you take control of your money.

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