There are no legal steps you have to take to separate. You will need to work out what to do about property, debts and children. Family dispute resolution (mediation) can help.

  • If you have children together you will need to work out who is going to care for the children and when you will spend time with them.
  • If you own property, like a house or a car, you will need to work out what will happen to the property. You also need to work out any debts you have.
  • Family dispute resolution can help you work out what will happen with children and property without going to court.
  • If you are married you may want to get a divorce.

Watch videos about this topic


Moving beyond family conflict – A guide to family dispute resolution

This video shows what you and partner can do when you don’t agree on family matters when you’re separating (15 minutes).


Glossary: What these words mean


Property is something a person owns. It can include:

  • real estate: family home, investment property or commercial property
  • vehicles: cars, trucks, caravans, boats, trailers and motorbikes
  • money: cash or in bank accounts
  • shares or stocks: in a business or partnership, or a family or public company
  • insurance policies
  • superannuation
  • jewellery
  • furniture and household items
  • debts: mortgages, loans, credit cards and personal debts.

Divorce happens when you and your partner decide to end your marriage by going to court and having a judge legally separate you.


When two people who are married, partners, or in an intimate relationship split up or end the relationship it is called separation.

family dispute resolution (FDR)

When two people are separating, family dispute resolution (FDR) can help them decide what happens with children, property and money. It is cheaper than going to court.

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