Guest post by Hannah Madison
In 2023, a London divorce lawyer will deal with a number of questions from clients and often, top of the list of concerns is the adjustment in personal finance needed to accommodate a single lifestyle.
A divorce can bring about some significant changes – not least to the finances of one or both parties. In this article, we’re looking at how you can take back control of your finances after divorce.
How Does Divorce Affect Personal Finances?
A divorce can impact on finances in a number of ways and, in this section, we’re going to take a look at some of these.
There’s an old saying that goes ‘two can live as cheaply as one’ and this is true to an extent. When a couple has two incomes but just one set of mortgage and bills, they will often enjoy a certain lifestyle level. When the couple gets divorced, they will usually then live separately which means two sets of mortgages or rent and bills.
While this may not be a significant problem when both parties earn a good salary and can therefore both comfortably afford to cover these expenses, this is not always the case. In many instances, one partner earns significantly less than the other which means that they may struggle to find decent accommodation within their budget.
If there are children involved in a divorce, they will usually live with one parent. This usually means that the other parent will be required, by law, to pay child maintenance. This will normally amount to between 12% and 16% of weekly income – which is quite a chunk when dealing with increased living costs.
In some instances, the parent with custody of the children may be forced to get a job due to their changed circumstances. This can mean that they will then have to pay for childcare so that they can work – and this can rack up a bill of £66.52 per week.
How to Take Back Control of Your Finances After Divorce
It can be incredibly scary to suddenly find yourself single and struggling to cope financially but there are a few things that you can do to regain control of your financial life and some of these are:
Find legal support
Once a divorce is on the cards, it’s essential that you arm yourself with the services of a good family law solicitor. This is important as they will be able to inform you of your financial rights as well as helping you to navigate the often complicated waters of the divorce process.
Your solicitor will also be able to negotiate on your behalf to ensure that you receive a fair settlement from your divorce as well as negotiating other financial products such as pensions which you and your former spouse may hold.
Consider freelance opportunities
If you find that your income will be considerably diminished following your divorce, you may need to think about either getting a job or taking on extra work – which may not be easy if you’re also responsible for childcare.
Thankfully, there are now plenty of options available for working from home, including freelance opportunities if you have skills such as writing, accounting, design or data entry.
Check your entitlements
Following your divorce, you may be entitled to government benefits such as Universal Credit and housing benefit which can help considerably to stretch your budget. Make sure that you research – and apply for – any and all benefits that you may be eligible to receive.
In addition to this, if children are involved, you’ll want to make sure that you are aware of your entitlements such as free childcare services. In the UK, you may be entitled to up to 30 hours of free childcare which will be a huge help if you are going to be starting work.
Seek financial advice
In some cases, it may be worth making an appointment with a financial services expert who will be able to advise you on investments and other ways to stretch your cash as far as possible. While you may not have piles of cash to invest, a financial consultant will have one or two tricks up their sleeve to help you manage what you have.
Facing your financial future
When going through a divorce, it’s important to manage your expectations when it comes to finances. This may mean accepting the fact that you might need to move to a smaller property and reign in your lifestyle a little in terms of holidays and other treats.
While this may be the case, it’s important to make sure, with the help of a solicitor, that you know what you are entitled to and to make sure that you get it. While it can be daunting to go it alone with changed financial circumstances, there is help available and if you find that you are struggling. Your local council should also be able to point you in the direction of organisations who may be able to help both short and long term.