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Simple ways to save money on your financial separation

Any relationship breakdown is hard. With kids it is harder still. Emotions run high with sense and reason sometimes taking a back seat. The main focus is on protecting your children and rebuilding your future throughout this difficult time. You will make some of the biggest decisions of your life whilst trying to stay sane in the day-to-day. Then there’s the financial side …

Ex-couples can make huge mistakes during the separation process, and these mistakes can cost them big time. In fact, by not understanding the full ramifications of a financial separation, or by understanding but ignoring them, the amount of money wasted could affect the rest of your life, and in-turn the lives of your children.

Now is time to get your head around the best practice when it comes to splitting your assets. The choices you make will have a big impact on your present and your future. Get educated. Get confident. And get ready to move on with the rest of your life.

Here is our advice to keep costs down and get the best possible outcome when you separate from your partner.

Communication is crucial

Ironically, at a time when communication with your ex-partner may have broken-down, is the time it matters most. Learning to communicate calmly and respectfully with each other will save money, stress and time. Step-back and consider what form of communication is most effective between you and your ex-partner. In many cases, email is good as time can be taken to deliver clear and respectful wording, and eliminates the erratic emotion that can interject a phone call or texts or an in-person chat. It also allows the recipient to respond when they are calm and clear-headed. If you are aware of words, actions or even body language that may trigger your ex-partner, avoid them. It only takes one person to pave the way for better communication. Be that person. It will allow you to work through your financial separation logically and quickly without costly lawyers or courts making decisions which are out of your hands and you may not agree with.

Focus on the kids

In nearly all family breakdowns, each parent has one priority: Their children. Remember this is your common ground. Ultimately you both want the best for your children. Focusing on this one fact will get you a faster, less-costly, better outcome from your financial separation. Put aside your differences from the past and concentrate on the bigger picture and the future. No-one is more significant in this than your children. You may find that your mutual need to support them is what guides you through to a solution.

Educate yourself

When it comes to your financial separation, knowledge is not only power, but is also a huge money saver. The best bit is, there is plenty of free stuff available. This video from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia explains how to apply for a divorce and you can read-up on financial separation on the Divide website here. Warning: Make sure you arm yourself with the ‘correct’ knowledge. Advice from friends and family is well-meaning, but every financial separation is different so stick to the actuality and how it will influence your personal situation. Mistakes are costly and can be avoided by getting the facts early on.

DIY it

Like everything in life, the more you do yourself, the more money you will save. If you need professional support, either with a financial separation specialist or a lawyer, get as much information prepared before your first appointment with them. This includes, but is not limited to, your separation date, bank statements, mortgage statements, tax returns and superannuation details. Dig out the paperwork, make the necessary phone calls and compile a folder. Encourage your ex-partner to do the same. It may seem tiresome, possibly overwhelming, but the money you save by doing your own admin and anything else you are capable of, can be used to rebuild a better future for you and your children.

Be transparent

The key to a cost-effective and fast financial separation is transparency. Put it this way, it will all come out in the end. Be honest and open about your financials as well as your feelings. If you lead by example, your ex-partner is more likely to do the same. Half-truths and embellishments, for any reason, will slow down and complicate the process. They can even break-down an amicable process. If this happens lawyers may need to get involved, which means extra costs for both parties and will likely create more aggressive ‘via lawyer’ communication which will have consequences now and in the future.

Not in it to win it

Financial separation is not a battle field. There are no winners or losers. When you and your partner are both in this mindset it will be easier to move forward. By removing this competitive edge from the negotiations will allow you to make non-emotional, cost benefit-based decisions. Adopt a give and take attitude and you may find that your ex-partner follows your lead. Be flexible and open to her ideas and suggestions, and you may notice she is more open to yours. Remember, the aim here is to find middle ground that will allow you both to move on with your lives and be the best co-parents you can be.



Chris Staples is a Director at Divide – Simple Financial Separation. He has seen how wealth is eroded through a divorce done badly and believes there is a cleaner way to make the break financially. He now helps couples with their financial separations in a cost-effective, peaceful manner, without using lawyers.