Divorce and relationship breakdown is one of the major reasons why property owners are forced to sell property, and unfortunately, the consequences can be very costly if it’s not handled correctly from the beginning.

How can you navigate this emotional time, without falling apart – mentally or financially?

Here are a few tips suggested by Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) Money Smart, which you can take from the very outset to minimise your chances of financial pain:

•    Get in the know: If your former partner was the one who took care of the money, you need to find out how things were organised and decide how you want to manage your finances.

•    Close off your joint accounts: Consider closing your joint account. Talk to your bank to establish your own account with your own pool of money, and make sure the other joint account holder can't access it. Check that your pay is going into this account.

•    Do a financial stocktake: List all your assets, and any debts or joint debts in your name, so you have a clear picture of your overall financial situation.

•    Keep records: Note the dates of your separation in a diary or notepad. You can use this when you apply for a divorce as proof that you have been separated for at least 12 months.

•    Cancel your redraw facility: Talk to your bank to cancel any redraw facility on your home loan to make sure your debts don't grow.

•    Update your bills and rent: If your name is on the lease then you are liable for any unpaid rent or damage caused by your partner. Similarly, if your name is on utilities or energy accounts and you’ve left the family home, then you are liable for any unpaid bill.

•    Seek legal advice:  Speak to a solicitor about separating property held in joint names, taking legal action, if property is held in your partner's name, to prevent it being sold before the property settlement.


For the full story of how to bounce back after a relationship breakdown, including proven strategies to get back in control of your financial future, read the complete feature article in the May 2019 edition of Your Investment Property magazine.

On sale at news agencies and Coles supermarkets 11th April to 9th May or download the magazine now.