It is a reasonable and valid to be concerned about the financial impact of ending a violent relationship. You may be financially dependent on the person using violence. You may be concerned about how you will pay the rent, mortgage, bills etc. on one income. You might feel guilty about the impact of this on your children.
Ideally, you will be able to start planning your finances prior to leaving, if it is safe for you to do so. You could:
- Pull together identification and any documents relating to finance for you and any children you may have.
- Set up a safe and confidential way to be contacted without the person using violence knowing.
- Create an escape fund by setting aside money where you can.
- Collect essential items you’ll need when you leave.
Planning is not always possible, or safe; and it is true that separation presents many financial challenges. It can take some time to establish financial independence, and this can feel stressful at an already difficult time. There are supports and options available to you. This resource prepared by the Women’s Centre for Health Matters outlines some practical and manageable strategies. It can be found here.
The Australian Government, through Centrelink, can provide crisis payments in situations where people need to leave their homes because of domestic/family violence. To apply for a crisis payment, you can call Centrelink or attend a Centrelink office to speak with a social worker.
For enquiries about financial assistance call Centrelink on 13 1021.
If you are married, in a de facto or same sex relationship you may be entitled to a property settlement pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975. If you do not work, or earn a significantly lower amount that your spouse/partner, and rely on the income of your spouse/partner, you may be entitled to make an application for spousal maintenance to the Family Law Court and/or child support to the Child Support Agency. You should obtain independent legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in Family Law. It is unlikely these matters will be dealt with immediately.
Please contact us here should you wish to discuss your options further. You can contact us anonymously. We do not make any sound recordings of our conversations, but we do record that we spoke to you. This record can be made anonymously. If you are unsure, please speak to our crisis workers at the commencement of the call.