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Separating with debt: a guide to your legal options

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This guide provides family law and consumer credit law information, options and referral points to assist separating couples to proactively manage debt in the context of relationship breakdown.

Setting out information about how debts are dealt with in family law after separation, the guide helps separating couples understand their financial and legal responsibilities and where to get help.

The guide assists separating couples, including those experiencing financial abuse, to safely achieve fair outcomes when dividing responsibility for joint and other debts without going to court (where possible), and at different stages of separation.

The guide is also a useful resource for legal practitioners and financial counsellors who are assisting parties to resolve their debts, including joint debts, as part of a family law property settlement dispute.

The guide was announced as part of the Women's Economic Security Statement 2020. It is a joint measure between the Attorney-General's Department and the Office for Women under the Preventing Financial Abuse Project of the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

The guide reflects the Australian Government's ongoing commitment to supporting women's safety and wellbeing in their homes, communities, workplaces and online.

We have prepared this guide with the assistance of Care Consumer Law and Ms Emma Smallwood to sit alongside our existing family law publications:

For information about reproducing content in this guide, visit our Copyright page.

This guide is provided in accordance with, and subject to, our disclaimer, which you acknowledge to have read in accessing this guide.