I know this is probably the last thing you are thinking about when you are nursing a broken heart, I have been there and I know how painful it is, but you need to protect yourself, your assets and your family.
Things to think about:
- Create a new household & personal budget – you can use our budget sheet as a starting point to see where you can make savings.
- Organise your documents – if you were married or co-habiting, at some point during the separation/divorce you will have to discuss finances whether with your ex or with a solicitor or bank. It’s a good idea to get them in order as everything is likely to be read and analysed.
- Update your will – Or if you haven’t got one, make one! This is very important, if something happens to you whilst in the process of divorce or even years later, your ex could be entitled to your estate, assets etc and your family/new partner will not be able to contest this if you haven’t changed your will.
- Sort out your mortgage – if your mortgage is in joint names you are both liable to pay the debt. However if your partner refuses to pay for any reason, you are liable for the entire debt. Read more here: Joint Debt: Who is liable in separation? Talk to your lender as soon as possible and they’ll tell you what you need to do. You and your ex will need to decide what you want to do in the future, for example, if one of you can afford to stay in the property as the family home. Just make sure you keep on top of your repayments while you try and decide what. If you don’t it could impact on your credit rating and cause you both problems in the future.
- Stop your ex adding debt to joint credit cards/loans – speak to your lenders about putting some restrictions on the account so your ex can’t run up further debts; or reach an agreement so they accept lower payments if you can’t repay in full. You will then need to make arrangements for who is paying what.
- Separate your joint accounts – Give your bank a call and explain your situation. You will need to make sure that all direct debits are covered and redirected, so you may need to make arrangements for finances with your ex. If you can’t make an agreement, we suggest you seek legal advice so that you are not left with a debt or payments that are not yours.
- Update your insurances – If you are no longer living together, you will need to update your home insurance, car insurance (if they were on the policy and will no longer be using the car), life insurance – so they are no longer the beneficiary if something happens unless you still want them to be.
- Consider your assets – Think about how you’ll split what you own. Dividing up your property and financial assets can be a difficult, emotional, and potentially very expensive. Remember, the law is different for married couples and couples who live together. Even if you can easily agree how to share things out, it’s a good idea to get an experienced solicitor to look over the proposed terms. If you can’t agree, mediators or solicitors might help. If not, you might need to make application to the court and the court will decide on what it considers to be a fair split.
- Updating your Council Tax and Benefits – changes to your circumstances can mean you will be entitled to savings on your council tax and additional or reduced benefits. For a list of who to contact when you separate, read our article: Practical advice: Who to tell you have separated.
Financial worries can be tough, you don’t have to go through this alone. There are professionals and support groups out there that can help. Independent Financial Advisors can help with advice as well as solicitors, just choose what is right for you and your budget.
- Debt Advisory Centre
- The Money Advice Centre
- Gingerbread – support from single parents
- Wills Which – affordable wills