Families Change Guide to Separation & Divorce

3.10 - Financial Stages of Separation: Stage One

3.10 - Financial Stages of Separation: Stage One

There are three stages of financial separation:

  • Stage One: Preparing for Financial Separation
  • Stage Two: During Separation
  • Stage Three: After Separation

For this part of the course, you will have the chance to complete a series of checklists that will help you consider what actions have been completed and what remains to be done.

The information presented in the chart is intended to draw your attention to some of the issues that accompany the division of finances during a separation or divorce. It is not intended to be a complete guide, nor is it a substitute for legal or financial advice.

Let’s talk about Stage One: Preparing for Financial Separation.

Often one person in a relationship has taken primary responsibility for financial management and record keeping. In preparation for separation, it is important for the other parent to bring themselves up to speed on the family’s financial matters by:

  • Reviewing the specifics of all financial accounts;
  • Making copies of all relevant documents and computer files with financial data;
  • Beginning an inventory of all separately- and jointly-owned assets;
  • Making a list of all outstanding debts;
  • Meeting with a financial planning professional to discuss the financial and tax implications of decisions that will need to be made as the separation goes ahead;
  • Obtaining information about separation and property division laws;
  • Establishing credit in your own name;
  • Making an effort to pay down the balance of as many bills as possible; and
  • Gathering financial information keeps legal bills down and provides a more realistic view of the financial situation as decisions are made.
  • Recognize that the person who did not initiate the separation   may not be as ready to move forward with financial separation.

In the next section, you can fill in the Stage One checklist. You can save copies of your checklist to finish filling in the items.