Going through a divorce can be emotionally difficult. Managing financial matters on your own can be tricky, especially if you were not the one handling the family’s finances in your marriage.
Some things to do may include:
- Sort out your individual finances
Take stock of any joint bank accounts with your ex-spouse and decide whether to close these joint accounts. Check if you have any credit cards for which you have issued a supplementary card to your ex-spouse, and inform the bank if you wish to cancel the cards. Make the necessary arrangements for any loans or debts you have jointly taken out or co-owned property or investments to be separated.
If you have been paying household bills through a joint account, you may want to make arrangements to pay these now through your own account. Remember to go through and update your GIRO arrangements.
If you have used your CPF savings to buy a property with your ex-spouse, think about what you want to do with your matrimonial home. If you intend to sell your home and CPF funds were used, you will need to make the required CPF refunds to your respective accounts. For more information, please refer to the CPF Board website. Decide who is keeping the home/who is moving out.
You might have previously made a Will to distribute part of your assets to your ex-spouse after your passing. Update your Will if this is no longer your wish. Review the nominees of your insurance policies. If you wish to make any changes, contact the insurers to check if you may do so. Do also note that divorce does not revoke your previous CPF nomination. If you wish to revoke your earlier nomination, refer to the CPF Board website or contact CPF Board for information on how you can do so.
If you and your children were included in your spouse’s employer group insurance scheme, these may no longer be available to you once you are divorced. Consider getting health insurance for yourself and your children soon. Also consider getting some basic life insurance to protect your children against financial loss in the event you are no longer around. At a minimum, you may want to consider term insurance for basic insurance protection.
Review your budget. You may have to live on less income, whether you are working and / or paying or receiving maintenance. If so, adjusting your current lifestyle and watching your spending is important. If you do not already have a budget, make one to help you manage your money carefully.
As far as possible, do build up emergency savings. A rule of thumb is to have about 3-6 months of monthly income in emergency savings. You never know when you might need this.
If you are considering investments on your own for the first time, make sure you understand your objectives and requirements, personal circumstances, needs and goals. Also make sure you know how much risk you are comfortable taking. You may wish to start off conservatively if you cannot afford to lose money.
Help for Single Parent Families
If you have trouble making ends meet, look out for the various help schemes for single-parent families by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. For example, ComCare provides social assistance to low-income individuals and families. Depending on your needs and eligibility, you may receive short or medium-term temporary help or fee subsidies for children from low income families who are placed in childcare, kindergarten or student care centres. Further information on ComCare can be found at the Ministry of Social and Family Development website.
If you need help, you can call ComCare Call at 1800-222-0000 or go to the Community Development Council (CDC), Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) or a Family Service Centre (FSC) near you.
The above information is prepared in collaboration with the Central Provident Fund Board and Ministry of Social and Family Development.