Dealing with separation and divorce
Divorce resulting from a relationship breakdown impacts every aspect of your life. In these difficult times is not unusual for emotions to take over, and for the family members to put reason aside and make fundamental mistakes that will affect everyone for the rest of their lives.
The division of assets including the family home and superannuation assets often results in both parties experiencing undue stress and possible hardship. Knowing your options, and having the right strategies in place will ensure that family members are cared for even in this most stressful of times.
The ending of any relationship can be a very emotional time. It’s important that you don’t rush out and act without careful consideration for what is best for all parties, and what is best for the longer term. Rash decisions and emotional times lead to poor outcomes for all involved.
Be kind to yourself and others at this time, ask for support if you need it, make sure you take the time to talk someone you trust.
Start by working through a few simple things. Simple things like doing a financial stock take, and then working onto the larger money issues is often a prudent way to start:
Don’t act irrationally, but understand there are no benefits in delaying matters if the outcomes appear inevitable. Start by rearranging your finances.
Close your joint accounts, and make sure any income you earned and funds you are entitled to are placed into your account and that your ex-partner can’t access it. Make sure your pay is going to this nominated account.
Complete a financial stock take: list any assets, income and debt, making sure that you have a clear understanding of what are your entitlements and responsibilities, any that were your partners, and what was yours collectively.
It’s at about this time you should be talking to someone able to provide you with legal advice. Speaking to a solicitor will give you clarity about the path going forward and fill in any gaps you may have overlooked in getting yourself back on track.
Make sure you’ve documented relevant dates, such as separation dates, and any other landmark events relevant to the matter.
If your partner was taking care of most of financial matters during the relationship, make sure you gather all your key financial documents and develop a clear understanding of all your current obligations including payment of rent or mortgage, any credit card debt, utility bills, current investments savings and transaction account details as well as any legal documents such as wills, mortgage documents, loan agreements etc.
Making the change to one income source
When adjusting to the changes in income it’s important to re-establish a clear understanding of where the money comes from, and where it goes. There is the real need to do a comprehensive stock take on your financial situation; you should complete a budget, working out what is essential, verses what could would normally be classified as discretionary spending.
Getting further financial information and help
As well as immediate free legal advice about your assets, you might need ongoing support to help plan ahead. For urgent help to sort out your bills and do a budget, you can get financial counselling.
You might also need advice to help you make decisions about housing, educating your children or managing your debts.
For longer-term help to improve your investments and to develop a money plan, consider getting financial advice. If it seems daunting, take a friend for support.
For an obligation free discussion with a local Lifespan adviser contact Lifespan and we’ll put you in touch with some who can help.