It’s never easy when a marriage or significant relationship ends. Whatever the reason, the breakup of a relationship can turn your whole world upside down, particularly your finances.
The sooner you deal with your money, the less chance you have of falling into debt.
Sorting your money out may not be a simple process, but understanding the full financial picture of your assets and liabilities will help you moving forward.
Whether you seek professional help to deal with complex scenarios or simply have a discussion with your ex-partner, it’s a good idea to draw up an agreement that explains how you’ve decided to divide everything. This should reduce the chance of problems arising in the future.
At first, it’s likely you will have a reduction - or at least an alteration - in your money, which will affect your ability to pay any debts you have. It is therefore important to prioritise your debts, ensuring you pay high priority items such as your rent or mortgage, tax arrears or major/high interest items, as failure to do so could have more serious consequences. If these cannot be paid, you should make it a priority to speak to these creditors and come to an alternate and feasible repayment proposal.
Once you’ve sorted out these debts or made arrangements, you should consider other regular debts such as credit cards, loans, hire purchase, etc that you can pay. If you cannot meet the repayment obligations, contact the lender and tell them what you can pay. Some companies can freeze interest charges, but this is purely at their discretion.
With joint debts, both you and your ex-partner are liable to repay the whole amount - and it will affect your future credit rating if you neglect to do so. An arrangement should be made how this can be maintained until permanent arrangements can be made. If an agreement can’t be reached or your ex-partner is unwilling to pay their share, ensure the lender is aware. It is possible to reach a lower payment agreement and place restrictions so your ex can’t run up further debts.
The folowing budgeting tools are available to help you budget if going through a separation:
have a budgeting tool which helps you list all your household income and expenditure, and helps you to prioritise your debts.
has useful guides and resources such as calculators, comparison tables, letter templates and more to help you with many different areas.
offers a confidential free online debt advice service through their My Money Steps website, helping you to create a personal action plan to manage your money better.
provide a benefits calculator for older people. Use this to make sure you are receiving all the help you are entitled to.
also provide a money management course, providing a simple way to teach people how to build their budgeting skills.
provide information on child maintenance and the child support agency if there are children involved in the separation.
Further information on specific issues to consider around separation or divorce can be obtained from the following websites: