Moving on - sound financial strategies for surviving divorce

Moving on - sound financial strategies for surviving divorce

Divorce is one of the most stressful challenges in a person’s lifetime. Not only are you faced with enormous upheaval, but during this time, you’re likely to have to deal with issues like joint finances, custody of children and other big decisions.

We’ve taken time out to provide some tips to make the finance part at least a little easier.

1. Stay Logical

Emotions run high during a divorce, which can make it difficult to make logical decisions about important issues such as money. Try to remember that the choices you make during this time will have a big impact on you later in life. 

it may feel almost impossible, your future self will thank you for making decisions in your best interest. Luckily, there are people who can help you do this.

2. Seek help

Using the services of an objective third party, such as a finance professional or financial advisor, will make it easier for you to make sound financial decisions, even if emotions are running high.

If you don’t know of someone already, ask a friend or family member for recommendations. Many people know good financial professionals, who will act in your best interests. 

Don’t have the funds to pay someone? Consider seeking free financial counselling through a service such as Legal Aid.

Below are contact details for Legal Aid services in each state and territory of Australia.

Western Australia

1300 650 579


1300 732 387

New South Wales

1300 888 529

South Australia

1300 366 424


1300 366 611

Australian Capital Territory   

1300 654 314

Northern Territory

1800 019 343

3. Make a checklist

There are a number of actions you will need to take during the initial phases of your divorce. These including closing joint accounts, opening new bank accounts and organising other facets of your finances, such as ongoing mortgage repayments.

This divorce and separation checklist will help get you started:

✔   Open a bank account in your own name.

✔   Consider closing joint bank accounts and cancelling joint credit cards.

✔   Make sure your new PIN is not a password your ex is likely to know.

✔   If you have a mortgage, tell your lender that you have separated.

✔   Develop a plan for covering mortgage repayments while plans for property settlement are being made.

✔   If the property is under your ex’s name, speak with a lawyer about whether you should protect it with a caveat.

✔   If you’re staying in the home you occupied together, put all bills in your name.

✔   If you’re leaving, remove your name from utility bills associated with the property.

✔   If you are finding it hard to pay bills, contact the debtor and let them know your situation. You may be able to come to agreements with them.

Head here for a more comprehensive checklist developed by MoneySmart, the Australian Government’s financial guidance website.

4. Take care of yourself

Most importantly, it is vital that you take of yourself, and your mental health, during this very difficult time. Do not be afraid to seek support from friends, family and even community services, which are available to all Australians.

Here are some numbers that may be useful to you:

National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007

Free hotline for individuals struggling with debt. When you call the number above, you will be directed to the service operating in your state. Open 9.30am to 4.30pm weekdays.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Crisis support line for those who need emotional or psychological support. This chat service is available 24-hours, and can also be accessed online.

Need more support?

The Australian Government’s MoneySmart website has comprehensive information on financial strategies for surviving divorce. Click here to access them.