Divorce and Finance

Organise and understand your new financial situation, if you have children, make sure you get access and child support set up from the start.

You can’t afford to waste any time getting your finances sorted out when your relationship ends. If you haven’t had a pre-nuptial agreement it is likely that everything you own as a couple will be divided equally between you and your ex-partner.

When I lived in the U.K. women were very clear about the fact that would get half of everything plus maintenance for their children. I now live in New Zealand and have heard several women declare that they are afraid to pursue their ex-partner for half of their joint possessions and even for child support. There is a huge number of men in NZ that do not pay child support, I believe that some of them are not paying because their ex-wives do not make the necessary effort to make them pay. So, these are the first things to sort out,  what you are entitled to and support for your children.

The same applies to guys that may have been left holding the baby, so to speak, get things sorted as soon as you can.

Next thing to do is work out your budget, you do not want to be living beyond your means or racking up debt. If you can’t afford the mortgage – sell the house, this isn’t the time to be sentimental, it may be very hard to lose your partner and have to sell your home, but in the long run the best thing you can do is manage your finances, and if that means downsizing, you just have to bite the bullet.

You’ll need to make a list of all your outgoings, don’t forget your ‘casual’ spending e.g. coffee on the way to work – that might cost you $20 / week, you could make one in a thermal cup for less than $1 and take it with you. Calculate your children’s spending, that is part of the budget. You may have to sit down with them and talk about how things will be different. Children can actually be a great help when you are trying to stick to a budget. Make a game of saving money, finding things on special in the supermarket, growing vegetables, making packed lunches etc. Involve your children in planning meals and activities, you’ll find they are full of good ideas and it’s excellent quality time together.

If you live in NZ, use’ Trademe’ to find things you need – there are many bargains to be had – and your children will be only too willing to watch the auctions for you.

Once you have a full list of your outgoings you need to balance that with your income, obviously you’ll want your outgoings to be less than your income, if you find it’s the other way round and you can’t cut any more out of your budget, you will have to get advice on benefits that might be available, you may need to get more support from your ex-partner.

Look at your cash flow, some months will be more costly than others, it is important to save for things like power bills, if you are not good at saving, ask you bank to manage your account for you, they will help you decide how much you need to live on and put the rest into another account that pays the bills.

Living alone or as a single parent is not easy, the adjustment from being part of a couple to being a single is not easy. You have to adjust emotionally as well as get used to your different circumstances. I can only say that it will be less traumatic if you make sure that your finances are under control – one less thing to worry about.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your budgeting, it’s much better to get help to make it work than to have to get help to get out of debt.

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