Ending a marriage is usually a tough time. There are big decisions to make about who gets to take care of the kids, how often each parent gets to see them, and where everyone’s going to live. Often, things get pretty tense between the ex-partners.

Then comes the tricky part: figuring out who gets what stuff, how much money one person needs to give the other for support, and how to pay off any debts. It’s helpful to have a financial planner involved because they can handle all of this without getting caught up in the emotions. Our main goal is to make sure you come out of this with the best possible outcome regarding money matters. So, here are some areas to think about, and where we can lend a hand.

We’ll leave the emotion at the door.

Believe it or not, we’re just as emotional as anyone else, but when it comes to handling our clients’ money, we switch gears completely. During the intense period of the breakup of a marriage, it’s incredibly helpful to have someone who can set aside emotions and focus solely on the financial side of things. Sometimes, we might suggest solutions like selling the family home to buy two smaller ones, even though it’s tough for both parties to agree to this on their own. Remember, equitable doesn’t necessarily mean equal. Factors like who primarily uses the asset or who might need it more (for example, a primary caregiver might need the family car) should be considered.

As part of this, don’t forget to take care of your emotional and mental well-being and encourage your ex to do so too. This isn’t directly a financial tip, but stress can lead to impulsive or poor financial decisions. Consider counselling or support groups, and ensure you have a personal support network to lean on. Having voices of reason around you can save a lot of time, expense, and additional heartache.

Keep lines of communication open

Emotions tend to run high during a separation. However, open, and honest communication about finances is essential for both parties to achieve the optimal solution. Do your best to leave “one-upmanship” outside the room, and instead focus on the current situation and how to handle joint responsibilities and assets.

Keep the kids front and center.

It might seem like putting the kids first should be a no-brainer, and for the most part, it is for many couples going through a separation. But sometimes, people get so focused on getting what’s best for themselves that they forget about what’s important. If you have kids, it’s crucial to make sure their needs come first. That could mean setting aside money for their schooling or making sure they have a stable place to live. And remember, child support isn’t about punishing or rewarding anyone — it’s just about making sure the kids are taken care of.

Understand the financial products needed in the future.

When you’re going through a separation, it’s important to make sure you have the right life insurance in place to secure maintenance payments if one partner passes away. Get advice on what type of policy to choose and who should receive the benefits, so you can minimise any Capital Acquisitions Tax liabilities on receipt of the benefits.

If you’re receiving maintenance payments, it’s also crucial to make sure your ex-partner has enough income protection in case they can’t work due to illness or injury. And don’t forget to keep your health insurance coverage in place, as letting it lapse can lead to higher costs or less coverage later.

Dealing with pensions can be tricky, especially during a divorce. A Pension Adjustment Order (PAO) allows you to get a share of your ex-partner’s pension fund, but there are different ways to set this up. You can either keep the benefits in the pension scheme until your ex-partner retires, or you can transfer your share to your pension arrangement. We’ll help you figure out the best approach for your situation.

Be realistic about household expenses.

It’s crucial to get real about your household expenses when you’re going through a separation, especially if you and your ex didn’t pay much attention to spending before. If you’re going to be receiving maintenance payments later, you need to understand how much it takes to run your family. This means keeping a close eye on your monthly spending and considering any big expenses that come up throughout the year—things like car costs, school fees, holidays, club memberships, and insurance. These expenses can add up, and we can help you figure them all out.

But here’s the tough part: we can’t make them disappear. Going forward, you might have to support two households with just one income, which often means making some sacrifices.

A separation is never going to be easy, particularly in an emotional context. But by focusing on the practicalities and ensuring decisions are equitable and fair, both parties can transition to their next life chapter with greater security and peace of mind.