Separation and divorce reorganises nearly every aspect of your life, at a time of emotional turmoil. First of all, let’s acknowledge that there are limits to staying “bright and brave.” This is a difficult time you’re going through, and it is important to get support. The very last thing you need is to lose track of your financial planning right now. So, let’s go back to the most basic tool of every successful woman – the checklist.
Here are 5 things you need to keep track of when separating.
In Australia, divorces are generally granted only after a one-year period of separation. In addition, assets acquired after the date of separation may be dealt with differently than those acquired before. For both these reasons, it’s important to keep track of when the separation began. That’s easy when one party moves out of the house, less so when the separation occurs with both spouses under the same roof. In the latter case, it would be very wise to speak with your family law attorney about how to establish when a separation has occurred.
This 12-month period is the best time to work out the details of a financial settlement. Although it’s possible to put it off until after the divorce is final, this is generally a bad idea. Get professional advice, and remember that complete financial disclosure on both sides is the rule. Common wisdom about who owns what is often based on a misunderstanding of the law. More assets may be subject to division than you think.
Child Support and Custody
This requires some thinking into the future. Children get quite a bit more expensive as they get older, so work with a financial advisor to project costs for items such as school fees. Older children also have quite a bit more say in their living arrangements.
Yes, you have to remember to change your will too. The provisions of your will and your former husband’s will may figure into the financial settlement as well. Don’t have a will? Now is the time to get on top of this task.
Succession Planning for Your Business
If you and your husband own and run a business together, special care must be taken to keep the business running and profitable while one or the other of you arranges your exit. It is generally unwise to try to maintain a business relationship while the personal side is coming apart. One of you will have to buy the other one out, and that can require some sophisticated financing. If you are not a co-owner, other arrangements may be possible to ensure that you do not just suddenly find yourself without a job and an income.
Sound arrangements about finances and the care of children take time and negotiation. Don’t be rushed through this process. Don’t rely on informal agreements, and don’t try to save money by using the same attorney. The legal and financial framework you build over the period of separation will determine much of what life looks like thereafter.
With nearly a decade of experience in the legal profession, Karen’s main areas of interest include wills and probate matters, conveyancing, criminal law, debt recovery, civil litigation and commercial transactions. For every client Karen strives to reach positive outcomes and she does this by offering attentive, time-effective and friendly service. Karen is currently a Lawyer at Owen Hodge Lawyers.