The breakdown of a relationship can be an emotional and traumatic time. It is also a time that your financial situation needs to be reviewed.
You will most likely have many practical uncertainties including:
- How will I survive financially?
- Who should live in the house?
- Do I continue to operate a joint account?
These are our initial tips to get you handling the immediate financial concerns after a relationship breakdown.
- Close off your joint accounts – talk to your bank to establish your money and make sure that your ex-partner cannot access it. Ensure that your pay is going into this account.
- Check ownership of the house – check whether the house is owned in your joint names with your spouse or partner. If you are unsure, check with your financial institution (if there is a mortgage on the home) otherwise check your property title deeds. It is important that you are aware of ownership to ensure your interest in the property is protected.
- Update your rental agreement (if renting) – if your name or your ex-partner’s name is on the lease, you could be liable for unpaid rent or damage caused by your ex-partner.
- Gather your financial information – organise your key financial documents including:
- Utility bills
- Credit Card bills
- Property titles, mortgage papers and any other relevant home loan papers
- Savings and transaction statements (go back 2 years to ascertain any suspicious activity on accounts)
- Superannuation accounts
- Business accounts (if you have been part of a family business).
- Do a financial stock take – list all your assets, and any debts or joint debts in your names.
- Do a budget – do as much as you can to keep things as normal as possible. Use a budget planner to write down all your income and expenses. You may need to cut back on non-essential items.
- Record important dates – record and note down important dates such as the date of your separation. To apply for a divorce you will need to prove that you have been separated for at least 12 months.
- Seek legal advice – speak to a solicitor about your assets, how to freeze any joint accounts, how to separate property held in joint names and advice on whether you will need to seek family law court assistance.
- Seek financial advice – speak to a financial adviser to help you set financial goals to ensure that you are able to deal with money and financial issues. You may also need advice to assist you to make decisions about housing, educating your children or managing your debts.
- Reorganise your will, insurance and superannuation – you should also think about insurance, including car, home, contents, income and life protection insurance especially if you have children. If the beneficiary of your insurance and/or superannuation is your ex-partner you might want to update your nomination. Superannuation is also important to get sorted – once you separate or get divorced, superannuation is treated as a type of property and can be divided by agreement or by court order.
Once you have made your financial position stable, you have more time to think about your longer-term future.
At TAG, we can help you through the financial haze when dealing with a relationship breakdown. Contact our office to speak to one of our advisers.
This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should consider whether the information is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation and needs.