SHOULD you separate, or consider a divorce, you will be faced with an enormous amount of emotional and personal stress. You may receive plenty of help and advice from friends and family about how to handle these difficult times, but not everyone is an expert with the best way to handle your finances during a divorce. You may be offered advice that is out of date, unhelpful or completely incorrect.
Divorce rates around the world are on the increase. What used to be a rare occasion is now becoming something that you hear discussed more often. Should the worst happen and you are placed in the position of considering a divorce, there are a number of actions that you can undertake that will help you through the divorce, financially. Many individuals, and unfortunately, the majority are women, suffer from dreadful financial circumstances during the divorce period before a settlement is agreed and actioned.
As soon as a separation or divorce becomes a possibility, it is essential that you set up a distinct bank account and credit card just in your own name. This will give you control of your own finances, from that day forward.
After a complete consultation with your divorce lawyer, withdraw 50% of the finances from any joint accounts, unless they recommend a different arrangement. You should not withdraw all of the money as this may put you on the wrong side of a legal liability during the process. Should you be unable to open up a new bank account, you can ask your bank to ensure that two signatures are required for access to any funds or use of the bank account, during the divorce period, to protect both parties from leaving the other destitute.
You should collate all of the information about your own and your partner’s bank account as well as any details about any funds held elsewhere, including pension funds and insurance policies. No doubt everyone will inform you that you should have your property valued sensibly and reasonably.You may need to contact your country’s tax officials to check what income and tax has been declared during the past few years, for both of you. This is important because during these proceedings, you must both be able to consider exact and reliable financial information although it will be the laws of the court that will decide the final outcome of the eternal question of who gets what.
There may be circumstances where one partner will be required to provide financial support to the other for a period in the future and this may be connected with an amount of child support money that must be paid regularly.
Hopefully your friends and family will have discussed mediation to see if your divorce can be settled amicably and where it can, you may be able to complete the majority of the divorce paperwork yourself, without involving a lawyer. However, don’t be deceived because your lawyer may be able to get you a better deal and keep you on the right side of the law after all of the finances have been reviewed and finalised.
By Samuel Rosenberg