Regardless of the circumstances, going through a divorce is a mentally and physically draining process, especially in today’s financial climate.
Divorce is one of the leading causes of debt in the UK and according to research conducted by StepChange Debt Charity (CCCS) in 2012, those who attributed their financial problems to divorce owed an average of £17,629 in unsecured debt, with just £25 available to actually meet their repayments.
It obviously makes things a little easier to be able to have a clean break, and dealing with any debts as soon as possible is an imperative part of this, especially as debt is often considered marital property.
Pay it off asap
The easiest way to be able to come out of a divorce debt-free is to deal with it and pay them off prior to the separation. This would mean that there is no need to worry about whether or not your ex partner is going to refuse to pay what they are ordered to.
Sit down together and thoroughly work through where you both stand financially. It is imperative that you both know what debts are owed and to be completely sure it is highly advisable that you get a credit report.
Any debts you have will be listed and you can hopefully come to an amicable agreement to fairly pay them off as soon as possible, prior to the actual divorce. It is important to note that if you are deciding how to divide and pay off your debts, you should look to getting a court order drawn up. This is a legally binding agreement that offers you a bit of support should your ex spouse claim anything in the future.
Sell your joint assets
Should you own your home, one partner could look to buy the other one out of it, although this may be unlikely if you are concerned about debt. If this is the case then it is best to sell the property, although it must be taken into account that the mortgage, alongside how much both of you earn, can affect how this is done.
If there is anything else that you both own jointly, such as a car, or electrical goods, it is much easier again for one person to buy them wholly, or to sell them and split the proceeds equally.
It is also best practice to decide on a date together as to when you should close any joint bank accounts. As money becomes joint property once it is put into such an account, it is assumed that any money in there will be divided by 50 per cent each.
Selling your joint assets can not only bring peace of mind in knowing that the item has been dealt with, it will bring you some money that can go towards either paying off any debts owed, or towards the court fees that are incurred during a divorce.
Get professional help
If your divorce isn’t so amicable and straight forward, and dividing your debts seems like it is going to be impossible, then it is worth your time in the long run to look for legal help. Expert advisors can aid with not only the financial, but also the emotional stress of divorce.
Although it will cost money, finding a solicitor who can give you advice on what you are entitled to, alongside what you are responsible for, can make all the difference in the long run and aid in making a clean break.They will also negotiate on your behalf with your spouse’s solicitor, and the courts if needed, meaning that you don’t have to deal with that yourself.
If you are still able to speak to one another, a collaborative family lawyer can help you resolve any issues via face-to-face meetings. This would mean you don’t have to go to court, which can be a great relief.
There is no doubt that divorce will cost you financially and emotionally, but there are ways to make it a little easier and ensure you don’t leave your marriage in debt.