Read on for an overview of the key financial issues to consider before and during your divorce.
Divorce is often emotionally, mentally, physically and financially stressful. If you and your spouse decide to proceed with a divorce, difficult decisions will have to be made that will impact your financial situation. It will not be easy to make these decisions and try to find solutions. In the process, conflicts may also arise. However, it is important to have an open mind and be willing to find grounds of compromise, which may involve making adjustments to your lifestyle. Frequent conflicts can also take a toll on you and affect your children.
Here are some of the key financial issues that you should think about before and during your divorce.
A house, be it an HDB flat, executive condominium, or private property, is often a couple’s most valuable financial asset. When deciding what to do with the house, you should prioritise your children’s needs. You and/or your spouse may also have an emotional attachment to the house. For these reasons, the question of whether to sell the house, or for which party to retain the house, may be difficult.
It is important to consider if your income, independent of your spouse’s, would be sufficient to meet your and your children’s living expenses. These expenses would include:
- Monthly expenses, such as food, household expenses, transport, medical expenses and utility bills.
- The educational and other needs of your children, such as school fees, tuition, school transport, school books and uniforms, clothing, recreation, etc.
- Maintenance support for your spouse and/or children (as and where applicable).
- Other medical fees and expenses.
It would be helpful to make a list of monthly expenses, including your bills and child support, and create a monthly budget to give you a better sense of your income and expenditure, and allow you to consider whether you need to cut back and for which expenses.
There are two different types of maintenance: Spousal maintenance and child maintenance. If you are a wife or incapacitated husband, you may seek maintenance from your spouse even before the divorce process has started. You may also apply for maintenance on behalf of your children. Your provision or receipt of maintenance will affect your monthly budget.
Given that there may be changes to your financial situation, you may wish to consider or relook at your employment by visiting Workforce Singapore’s website to seek employment, obtain career guidance and assistance, or consult a career ambassador for recommendations on career pathways to take or training opportunities.
Debts can put a further strain on your finances. As far as possible, avoid letting your debts accumulate. To understand your financial situation, assess your repayment capacity and seek help in facilitating debt repayment arrangements with your creditors on your behalf (where suitable), you may wish to contact Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS). You can find out more about the services they offer here.
Pause and Reflect
Are there any other financial arrangements that you need to make?
Have you drawn up a budget to help you understand your financial situation better?