Owning Your Finances After Divorce – By Priyanka Trivedi Shah
Divorces are not easy to deal with. The end of a relationship can be an emotional and traumatic havoc. You may feel overwhelmed or tormented about such a big change in your life. Depending on the circumstances it can feel like a heavy weight has been lifted or all that was yours is lost but when it looks like a hopeless impasse you should go separate ways.
While each case will vary, after the judge declares the financial settlement we need to get on with picking up the pieces.
Here are a couple of things you might want to consider:
1. Close off the joint account – Talk to the bank and make sure your partner can’t access the account and your pay is going into this account
2. Do a financial stock take – List all your assets, and any debts or joint debts in your name.
3. Update your rental agreement: If your name is on the lease then you could be liable for any unpaid rent or damage caused by your partner
4. Seek legal advice: Speak to a solicitor to
• Freeze any joint accounts (and go to your bank if necessary)
• Separate property held in joint names
• Take legal action, if property is held in your partner’s name, to prevent its sale before the final property settlement
• Update your will
If your partner was the one who took care of the money, find out how things were organised and see if you want to make any changes. Focus on setting yourself up for the future. When adjusting to a change in income, it’s important to know on paper where your money comes from and where it goes. Here are two simple steps to get you started.
1. Gather your financial information
If you’re not used to managing your money, getting all your key financial documents together is an important first step. Find and organise your:
• Utility bills (e.g. electricity, gas and phone)
• Credit and store cards bills
• Property deeds, mortgage papers, home loan details
• Savings and transaction account statements, including any PINs and passwords (but be careful with recording your PINs and passwords)
• Tax records
• Insurance policies (e.g. income protection, life, health, home and contents, car)
• Contact details for your accountant and lawyer
• Business documents, if you have been part of a family business
2. Do a budget and keep it up to date
Budget is actually very easy. Write down all your income and expenses. Add an extra column for the future and definite expense or income. Then look at what’s essential and what you could cut back. Saving a few extra dollars each week can add up to a big difference over time.
Divorce is definitely not end of the world but is the beginning of a whole new life. Good luck!
More About Priyanka
Priyanka Trivedi Shah, is a first-time mom of an 8-month-old living in Brisbane, Australia. She has a BCom, MCom, MBA (finance) and is pursuing her CPA.