It’s a fact of modern life that even with the best laid plans many long-term relationships won’t be a ‘til death do us part’ coupling. And sadly, the process of separation can be just as devastating financially as it is emotionally.
The most recent figures show that in 2014, 121,197 marriages took place in Australia, while on the flipside, 46,498 divorces were granted. Add in the breakdown of de facto and same sex relationships, and it becomes clear that large numbers of Australians will go through the separation wringer each year.
As part of the process, important decisions need to be made about your finances.
Seeking the advice of a family law expert makes sense. However it’s an option some couples simply can’t afford. So it’s good to hear our money watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has developed some online resources to help people navigate the financial aspects of ending a long-term relationship.
ASIC’s new ‘divorce and separation financial checklist’ and ‘asset stocktake calculator’ can be very helpful to make informed choices and take practical steps.
ASIC’s asset stocktake calculator provides an easy way to list all your assets and liabilities and get an overview of your current financial position – a good starting point to work out a property settlement.
The checklist is especially useful as it sets out recommended steps across a range of money matters from managing your mortgage following separation, through to updating your will and life insurance.
Paul Clitheroe is a director of financial planning firm ipac, chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money Magazine.