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Divorce, separation & personal finance

Going through a separation or divorce can be distressing and we appreciate you may not know where to start.

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How can we help

Going through a separation or divorce can be distressing and we appreciate you may not know where to start. So, to help you take those first steps into looking at your finances, we’ve put together some tips that may make things a little easier.

Documentation and statements

Pull together all documentation and statements for your individual and joint accounts and household spending. For example:

Utilities (gas, electric, water, rates/council tax etc.)
Bank account(s)
Investment(s) and savings
Insurance (house, contents, motor, pet, phone etc)
Life assurance and health and/or income protection
Credit agreements (store card, credit card, hire purchase etc.)
Club memberships

You may be asked to provide copies of documents and statements as part of the divorce proceedings.

Make sure you review everything so you have an accurate picture of where you are with your money. Make a list of all your income and outgoings to create a new household budget once the divorce has been finalised.

Update your Will

If you’d like to leave your money or assets to someone else, you’ll need to update your Will. If you’re not sure what to do, speak to your local Citizens Advice for free and independent advice.

Sort out your mortgage

Speak to your mortgage lender as soon as possible. If you have a joint mortgage, you and your former spouse will need to decide what you want to do. For example, if one of you can afford to stay in the property and keep up the mortgage repayments or whether the property is to be sold.

In the meantime, please make sure the mortgage repayments are kept up to date.  For more help, see the Money Advice Service’s guide to sorting out a mortgage during separation or divorce.

Separate your joint account

If you have any joint accounts, contact your financial services providers right away to explain your position. They can give you useful information about how to manage or protect any account balances. They’ll be able to tell you how to make sure all essential bills are paid by direct debit or standing order.

Update your life insurance and life assurance

Contact your insurance and life assurance provider(s) to tell them about your change in circumstances. They will be able to give you useful information about how your policies can be managed or cancelled.

Consider your assets

Dividing your property and financial assets can be difficult. The law is different for married couples and couples who live together. Even if you can easily agree how to share things out, it’s a good idea to get an experienced Solicitor to help you.

If you can’t agree, Mediators or Solicitors might be able to help or you might need to make an application to the Court for a decision on what it considers to be a fair outcome.

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Useful contacts

We've put together these useful links to help you find the support you need when dealing with divorce or separation:

Counselling, support and information for all relationships

Sorting Out Separation
Help and support for separated families

Money Advice Service
How to manage your money and divide what you own

Government advice on the legal side of divorce

The Law Society (England and Wales) or The Law Society or (NI) or The Law Society (Scotland) or Resolution
Find a lawyer who specialises in family law

Gingerbread NI
Support for single parents