Yesterday, the first Monday at work after Christmas, is known as divorce day because lawyers see a spike in enquiries about ending marriages. The festive season can be a testing time for relationships in trouble and is often the final straw. With 42% of marriages now ending in divorce, typically after 12 years, it’s a common enough occurrence. That doesn’t make it any the easier to bear, however.
Like most Skinted Minted Mums, I’ve a couple of friends and relatives going through the process. For all of them it’s been a last resort. Divorce is not something you undertake lightly: it’s emotionally gruelling and financially draining. When you’re depressed (or angry), it’s very difficult to concentrate on the details or even be bothered about them. But it’s essential to get a hold on the financials if you’re going to rescue any kind of asset and/or security from the split.
The family home and the children, if you have them, will be the obvious and most important focus and may distract you from contesting the other assets. Number one of these is your spouse’s pension. If you gave up your job to look after the kids/cats/house and garden when you married, you relinquished your own pension savings (and employer contributions). You must protect your future by ensuring you get your portion of the marital pension savings and making new arrangements for retirement.
Another source of income that many divorcing couples overlook, especially if they’ve been living a minted lifestyle, is help from the government. As a single head of the household, you are more likely to be on the skinted side of the tracks and therefore eligible for benefits such as tax credits and child benefit. It really is worth checking out because, combined, it can be a substantial amount.
Divorce is a big decision to take. If your New Year’s resolution is to make the break, please tread carefully and calmly. There is of course an SMM guide to the basics of divorce finance here which has a list of further reading on it too. Good luck on your new path!