With the divorce rate in Australia around 40 percent, many women find themselves dealing with divorce at some point in their lives. Divorce is difficult on many levels, but financially it can be especially frightening and possibly even devastating. No matter what your situation in life, divorce has a huge impact on a family’s finances.
If you find yourself preparing for (or in the midst of) divorce, educate yourself about the process and do all you can to make sure you land on your feet financially when it’s all over. These tips will help.
Parties must wait 12 months from the time that they separate until they can apply for their divorce. During this time, they can resolve property matters between them or make an application to the court in relation to property settlement immediately following their separation.
In Australia, a divorce may be obtained in either the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Magistrates Court. Further Australian divorce advice is also available online from the Family Court website. An easy to follow “Do It Yourself Divorce Kit” is available from the Federal Magistrates Court website www.fmc.gov.au.
When you get married, it may seem easiest to just let your husband handle the finances, but that is a huge mistake. Even if you are happily married for decades, you should still know what’s going on financially, but it becomes especially important to know about your money if you get divorced. Make sure you know how much you both earn, how much you have in investments and savings, how much your home is worth, and how much all your assets are worth in total.
If you are getting ready to get divorced, begin learning all you can about your family’s financial situation. Gather up paperwork and all the information you can in case you need to show proof of your finances.
You should also understand what bills are due and when, how much your monthly expenses are, and how to pay bills and stay on budget. If you haven’t done these things throughout your marriage, you can always learn, but it’s much easier if you have been involved with the finances from the start.
Divide and Conquer
When you are married, you are two people living as one, and dividing that can be complicated. As you begin to separate your lives, you must figure out a way to divide all that you have shared for years. The distribution of assets varies from family to family. Although there are certain formulas to guide the division of property after divorce, the court considers the unique circumstances of each case. The judge has the upper hand in deciding how things are split.
In shorter marriages, judges usually work to make sure each partner gets at least what he/she invested. In marriages that lasted ten years or more, the property and debt are divided equally.
Divorce is a stressful time and you will have a lot on your mind when going through a divorce. Getting yourself settled financially is important, so get help in doing so. Financial counselling is available; you just have to know where to look. Start with the Child Support Agency website at www.csa.gov.au and the CSA’s financial counselling services.
There is much help to be found on the CSA site, including information on child support, emotional aspects of separation and divorce and legal aspects of divorce.
Work on Your Budget
Getting used to having only one income isn’t easy for most people, and getting on a budget is crucial to insuring financial stability on your own. As you consider living on your own, look at your current monthly expenses and use those to figure out what they will be when you are divorced.
You may find that you have to move to a new home, but don’t assume you will until you really know what your income and other circumstances will be. If you stay in the home you’re in, many of your expenses will remain the same. However, you may be able to reduce some expenses by spending a little time on home insurance comparison and finding ways to cut your health insurance costs.
If you are going to be the primary caregiver for the children, child support is a very important part of your budget. You can get information and estimates on child support at the CSA website.
Getting a divorce is a difficult time, and it is even more challenging if you are dealing with financial hardships. Taking time to plan for your financial future on your own is an important part of the process. Make sure to take care of yourself financially as well as emotionally throughout your divorce, and you will save yourself further heartache.
Category: Frugal Living