Property settlement is the legal name for “who gets what”. A property settlement does not happen straight away, so a woman must make arrangements for her immediate needs.
It is reasonable for a woman to take what she requires to meet the day to day needs of herself and her children if she is taking them with her. This could include the fridge, washing machine, television, crockery and linen.
It is important for a woman to get legal advice about the things she is entitled to keep when she separates. If she takes more than she is entitled to, she may be ordered to return some of the property.
If it is unlikely that her partner will give her money or access to possessions, she can take available funds from the joint bank account to support herself and the children. She will need to take bank books and cards. It is advisable to leave money in the joint account to meet outstanding bills or mortgage repayments if it has been set aside for this purpose.
A woman should take any personal items of importance to her as it may be difficult to get these back later.
A woman can take the family car if it is in joint names or in her name. If the car is registered in her partner’s name she should get legal advice about her rights to the car before she takes it. If she is unable to get legal advice before taking the car, she should see a solicitor as soon as possible after separating. A solicitor can help organise a property settlement so that the car can be transferred into her name.
If a woman suspects that her partner will sell the property before they have worked out a property settlement, she can prevent this by getting an urgent order from the court restraining him from selling the property. She should get legal advice as soon as possible, especially if the property is in his name only.
If a woman takes more than she is entitled to, she may be ordered to return some of it. If she takes things that are clearly her partner’s personal possessions, this behaviour may be looked on unfavourably in the future. Legal advice should be sought as soon as possible.