If you’re going through a divorce, money is a critical issue.  If one partner has moved out, you’re now running two households and, even with an amicable split, money has a way of causing friction.

The number one piece of advice we can give is to talk to each other.  If the conversation stays open there’s a better chance of getting to an agreement that gives everyone the best possible result.

Practical things to do

If you earn less than £50K per annum and you are responsible for your children you can apply for child benefit.  This applies to children under 16 – or up to 20 if they’re still studying or in training.  Even if you earn more than £50K you may be able to claim child benefit, in full or part, and/or it may be taxable.

You may be able to claim Universal Credit.  To find out if you’re eligible you can check the gov.uk website.

If your partner has moved out, it may seem obvious, but you will also be able to claim the single person Council Tax discount (so long as there is no-one else above the age of 18 years in the house), which means you pay 25% less.

If you are struggling to pay all the bills, don’t just ignore them.  Talk to the mortgage company, the energy suppliers, and any other companies that you pay to keep your house and family going.  They are usually reasonable and often very understanding.  You won’t be the first – or the last – person to need a little slack in their payment schedule and you are talking to a human being.  Burying your head in the sand is not going to help at all.

If you plan to take over the mortgage or apply for a new one, it’s important to have as few blots on your credit record as possible.  If you wait until your creditors contact you rather than contacting them, this will inevitably result in a recorded  default payment affecting your credit rating.  Also, companies are less likely to be helpful and understanding.

Create a schedule of your outgoings and identify what’s essential and what you can do without, even if it’s temporarily.  It’s important to keep your finances transparent and having a list of everything will be helpful, not only for your own reference, but also to help in the process of resolving matters, and for any creditors who may request a list of your outgoings.

When your ex-partner isn’t talking

Everyone ends up better off if you can talk to each other, but sometimes this is simply not going to happen.  What can you do to get help?

Get advice from an expert – a family lawyer can usually point you in the right direction and advise if you should:

  • Apply to the CMS for child maintenance
  • Apply for interim spousal maintenance
  • Consider an application for a legal costs order if you are struggling to pay your legal fees

Don’t believe everything you hear from other parents in the playground or the man in the pub who ‘knows it all’.  Get expert advice and don’t play games about who should pay for what.

Our top tip:

Contrary to popular belief most solicitors are not trying to grab every penny!  However, there are costs for  your solicitor’s time so think carefully about all the queries you have before you pick up the phone to ask a question.  You might find it more cost effective to save up your queries and send an email with them all in, deal with all queries in one phone call, unless it’s an urgent issue, of course.