The initial phase of a divorce or separation can be quite demanding, particularly as you adapt to your altered circumstances. To help you concentrate on more critical matters, we have compiled ten straightforward steps that can aid in organizing your financial matters.
Consult a Legal Expert.
The process of divorce or separation can be bewildering and emotionally exhausting. Nonetheless, it’s always advisable to seek legal counsel before making any significant decisions.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that various laws apply to different circumstances. These laws consider factors such as the length of your marriage, whether you were in a de facto relationship, if you have children, or the duration of your separation.
Finding a trustworthy lawyer is of utmost importance. They can address some of your significant concerns and make you feel more confident about the process. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may be able to receive assistance from your local Legal Aid or Community Legal Center.
Assess Joint Finances.
During the early stages of divorce or separation, it may be worthwhile to consider closing any joint bank accounts, canceling shared credit cards, or setting up a co-signing system for withdrawing money, should either party need to do so.
If you decide to take this course of action, it’s advisable to discuss splitting the household utilities with your partner and reach a mutually agreeable payment arrangement before one of you moves out.
Before canceling any accounts, request 13 months’ worth of bank statements from your bank. This will assist you in identifying and changing any direct debits you have set up. It’s a good idea to handle your direct debits before closing any cards.
Explore Opening a Personal Bank Account.
Achieving financial independence could be the most significant benefit of the divorce or separation process. Opening a personal bank account can provide you with financial freedom and a sense of control.
It may be beneficial to speak with a representative at your local bank branch to determine which bank account from NAB is best suited for your needs. We can assist you in creating practical financial objectives that account for your new circumstances.
Review Your Housing Options.
One possibility to consider during divorce or separation is for one party to relocate or seek temporary rental accommodation.
It may be worthwhile to discuss modifying the lease agreement with your landlord (if renting) or communicating with your bank (if paying a mortgage) regarding changes to your living situation. If you’re having difficulty making payments, we may be able to assist you in meeting your financial obligations.
Notify Your Employer and Children's School.
Undergoing a divorce or separation may necessitate modifications to your typical schedule. It’s a good idea to inform your employer of the situation, in case you need to attend last-minute appointments. If you have children, it’s also a good idea to discuss potential changes to their routine with their school.
Revise Your Accounts and Privacy Settings.
Although divorce or separation can be a challenging time, it is also an opportunity to establish new accounts and gain complete control over your digital and financial affairs. This may involve creating new email accounts, credit cards, store accounts, or online shopping points.
To safeguard your credit history, it is important to speak with your bank about any potential penalties before making any changes.
When transferring accounts, it is recommended that you modify any passwords or PINs that were previously shared with your partner.
Collect Relevant Documents and Take Notes.
During the divorce or separation process, it is critical to keep track of important documents and take detailed notes. This can aid in the preparation of financial and legal paperwork, as well as ensuring that you have access to all necessary information.
Some of the documents you may need to collect include bank statements, tax returns, property deeds, and insurance policies. Additionally, it may be useful to maintain a record of any conversations or agreements made with your former partner.
By remaining organized and attentive to detail, you can better navigate the divorce or separation process.
Make Notes to Protect Yourself.
During a divorce or separation, it’s important to keep track of any conversations or actions that could impact the proceedings. This could include taking notes on important phone calls, removing furniture, selling shared items, or transferring money between accounts. Keeping a record of these details can help protect you in case of any disputes or misunderstandings down the line.
Establish a new financial plan.
As your work and finances are likely to go through changes during a divorce or separation, it is important to create a new budget. This should be based on your individual earnings, income, and savings, and should also include any temporary child support or other payments that your partner may make during the separation.
To make the process easier, consider using our online NAB budget planner to help you manage your new financial situation.
Prioritize Mindfulness in Your Schedule.
Engaging in regular physical activity, such as sports, meditation, yoga, or daily walks, can be beneficial in keeping you calm and grounded during the stressful process of divorce or separation. It’s also important to take time for mindfulness activities or use mindfulness apps to create downtime and maintain a positive outlook.