Divorce and separation financial checklist

15 October 2019 | All Separation & Divorce

Going through a divorce and separating from your partner can be a challenging time, especially when it comes to sorting out your finances.

The idea of separating all of your assets and accounts can be overwhelming and seem like a daunting task. To help make things easier, we’ve compiled this divorce and separation financial checklist to help you get organised.

1. Gather Information & Document It:

Mark the calendar
You’ll need to show that you’ve been separated for over a year if you wish to apply for divorce

  •  Make a note in your calendar or diary to record your official separation date

Gather your documentation

  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificates
  • Passports
  • Bank and super statements
  • Payslips
  • Tax returns
  • Car registration papers
  • Any documents associated with a family business

List your assets
This will help with your property settlement.

  • Create a list of your assets
  • Create a list of your shared assets
  • Create a list of your ex’s assets that you’re aware of
  • Create a list of your debts
  • Create a list of your shared debts
  • Create a list of your ex’s debts that you’re aware of

Create a family profile
These profiles should include details such as full names, contact details, employers and salaries. Put together notes for your lawyer about:

• You
• Your ex
• Your family

Secure access to your information and documents 

  • Set up a new email address or change the password to your email account if you’ll be keeping the same one.
  • Keep a copy of all of your documentation, lists and paperwork regarding the separation or divorce in a safe and secure place.
  • Set up a PO Box if you need a secure location for your mail.

2. Organise your living/housing arrangements

If you own your home outright:

  • Discuss who will be staying in the family home or if it will be put on the market.
  • Talk to a family law expert such as MDV family lawyers to help you understand your options and sort out your property arrangements.

If your home is Mortgaged:

  •  Let your bank or lender know that you have separated
  • Ensure that it is in your name as-well. If it isn’t, talk to your lawyer and ask if you need to protect your property with a caveat.
  • Work out how you and your ex plan to cover the Mortgage repayments during the property settlement.
  • Cancel any redraw options or request for joint signatures to be required prior to the loan being redrawn.

If your home is rented:

  • Decide who (if anyone) will be staying and who will be moving out
  • If you are both moving out, let the real estate know and look for your own respective properties as per usual.
  • If one of you are staying, update the real estate and have your ex taken off the lease.

Utilities:

  • Whoever is staying in the home should update all of the utility providers to put everything in their name.
  • Whoever moved out should ensure that that their name has been removed from all of the accounts/providers, and create their own.
  • If any bills are outstanding you may require legal help if you and your ex can’t come up with a way to pay them amicably.
  • Debts? If you and your ex can’t find come up with the outstanding amount contact the provider and let them know that you’re experiencing financial hardship.

3. Divide your money and assets:

After you separate or divorce, you’ll need to divide your financials. See some of the main things you should consider below:

Assets

  • Consider how you and your ex will be splitting your assets. Will each of you be keeping your own things and splitting any shared assets/debts, or will you be dividing things in a different way? Try and work this out amicably amongst yourselves prior to getting a lawyer involved.
  • Do you have any joint loans, debts or outstanding contracts? If so, you should contact all of the lenders and let them know that you’ve separated. This includes car repayments, technology/products on finance or any loans that have your ex as a guarantor.
  • If you need help to understand your options and  talk to your lawyer or contact a family dispute resolution supplier.
  • Formalise your property arrangement – this may have a time limit of 1-2 years

Money

  • Close any joint bank accounts
  • If you don’t already have one, open a bank account in your name only, organise for all of your payments to go into this account.
  • Cancel any joint credit cards
  • Keep your information secure by updating your banking pins and passwords
  • Work out your budget by looking at your income and expenses.
  • Contact the department of human services and enquire about any payments or services that you’ll be entitled to such as spousal maintenance.

Your legalities and important pieces

  • Update your will
  • Update your life insurance policy to ensure you have the right cover and remove your ex as a beneficiary (if you choose to)
  • Update your superannuation to ensure that the correct people will receive the payout
  • If you have any powers of attorney make sure to update them.

4. Organise custody and child care for any dependants

  • Discuss custody and childcare options with your ex. It’s best to try and work this out as amicably as possible and come to some form of an agreement.
  • Contact your children’s school and let them know that you’ve separated. You may be required to present a parenting plan.
  • Contact a family law expert such as MDV Family Lawyers to discuss a parenting plan
  • Contact the department of human services and enquire about any payments or services that you’ll be entitled to including child support and family tax benefit.
  • Discuss with your ex how costs for the child(ren) are going to be split.

The end of a relationship can be daunting. Make sure that you start with the small and easier things like making lists, working out your budget and creating your own accounts. You can then work your way through the trickier things such as parenting plans and money division.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that there’s help available. If you’re currently going through a separation or divorce get in touch with MDV Family Lawyers today.

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