Taking control of your everyday finances
How to manage your money during and after a separation
If you’re going through a separation or divorce, you might be feeling uncertain about the future. Tackling your finances can feel particularly overwhelming, so we’ve put together eight practical steps to make it a little easier to navigate.
1. Face your finances head-on
First up, gather all your financial documents together – think about all the different accounts you have, like your mortgage, bank accounts, loans and investments. After you have a clear view of your money, you can start thinking about how best to divide it between you.
Bear in mind that the law will vary depending on your status, so it’s different for couples who are married, in a civil partnership or living together. Even if you can agree things between yourselves, you could also consider getting a solicitor or mediator to look things over. If you’re struggling to reach an agreement, you might need to apply to the court to make the decision on your behalf.
2. Take care of your joint accounts
Even though it can be tough to talk about a separation, you’ll need to get in touch with your bank or financial provider to let them know. Remember, this is something they deal with every day, and they’ll be able to give you support and guidance.
In some cases, your bank will need to speak to both you and your partner before they can remove someone from an account. If the other person is refusing to give authorisation, you could freeze the account. Usually, this means both account holders will need to agree to any further payments, withdrawals or transfers from the account.
Just remember – although this will keep your money safe, it’ll also mean any important regular payments may be stopped, like your loan or mortgage instalments.
3. Open a sole account
Similarly, if all your money is held in joint accounts, you should think about opening an account of your own as soon as possible. Here’s how to open a current account with us in the Barclays app1 – it’s simple, safe and secure.
4. Take any additional cardholders off your credit card
If you have other cardholders on your credit card, you’ll be solely responsible for anything they spend on it until they’re removed – so make sure you take them off sooner rather than later.
To remove someone from your Barclaycard, please get in touch.
5. Manage your mortgage
If you have a joint mortgage, you’ll both be equally responsible for making the payments each month – even if one of you has moved out. If you think you might not be able to make your repayments, speak to your mortgage provider as soon as possible so they can help.
6. Revisit your insurance
- Home insurance: Even if you’ve moved out of the property, it’s still your home and your possessions might still be there. If you have a joint policy, make sure you let your insurer know that your circumstances have changed so you and your family stay protected
- Car insurance: You might have temporarily moved house, or you could be covered on your former partner’s policy – so it’s worth checking in with your car insurer to make sure your policy’s still valid
- Life insurance: Because your circumstances have changed, it’s best to check your life insurance and see if you want to make any changes there too – especially if your former partner is named as a beneficiary on the policy you have at the moment
7. Make sure your will is up to date
It might be the furthest thing from your mind, but now’s a good time to consider making a will, or reviewing yours if you already have one in place – doing it sooner rather than later could save tricky conversations down the line.
8. Check who has delegated authority over your finances
You might have nominated a third-party authority for your accounts – that means giving someone else access to your bank accounts, and letting them withdraw money on your behalf. You may also have given someone power of attorney, which lets someone make decisions about your property and finances on your behalf.
If you’ve nominated your ex-partner or someone from their family, be sure to check and update your documents so they can’t make decisions about your money going forward.
If you’re trying to get your head round your finances and aren’t sure where to start, the Barclays Money Mentors® service could help – they’re here to give you free, impartial guidance. You can ask them about anything, from how to budget to buying your next home. Find out more about them, and how to book your own mentoring call.
Please note, the Barclays Money Mentors® team doesn’t provide specific, individual financial advice. Your individual circumstances can vary and we recommend that you get professional advice if you need it.
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