A divorce can have significant impact on your financial situation. Find out what steps you should take, how to handle your money and where to turn to for help.
Going through a divorce can be emotionally trying — worse if finances come into the picture. If you were not the one handling the family's finances in the marriage, suddenly having to do so can be daunting. If you have to pay maintenance, you may need to carry out a review of your spending habits and future budgeting.
What you should do
Here are a few steps you can take:
1. Sort out your individual finances
Take stock of any joint bank accounts with your ex-spouse. Decide whether to close these joint accounts. If you have issued a supplementary card to your ex-spouse, inform the bank if you wish to cancel the arrangement.
Make arrangements to separate any loans, debts, property, or investments you have jointly taken out.
2. Take care of the bills
If you have been paying household bills through a joint account, you may want to pay these now through your own account. Go through your expenses and update your GIRO arrangements.
3. Decide on housing matters
Think about what you want to do with your matrimonial home. Decide who is keeping the home and who is moving out.
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. Check with CPF Board for more information.
4. Review your Will and nominations
You may have previously made a Will to distribute part of your assets to your ex-spouse. Update your Will if this is no longer your wish. Similarly, you should also review your CPF nomination.
Review the nominees of your insurance policies. If you wish to make changes, contact the insurers to see if you may do so.
NoteTake note: Divorce does not automatically revoke your previous CPF nomination. If you wish to revoke your earlier nomination, contact CPF Board for information on how you can do so.
5. Review your health and life insurance
If you and your children were included in your spouse’s employer group insurance scheme, these might not be available to you once you are divorced. If you want health insurance coverage beyond MediShield Life, do look at the options available for yourself and your children as soon as possible.
You may want to get or enhance your basic life insurance coverage so as to protect your children against financial shock in case something untoward were to suddenly happen to you. Term life insurance is an affordable option for basic life insurance protection.
6. Re-plan your budget
You may have to live on less income — depending on whether you are working, and paying or receiving maintenance. Adjusting your current lifestyle and watching your spending is important.
If you do not already have a budget, making one will help you manage your money prudently. Use the Budget Calculator to help you.
7. Set aside for emergencies
If possible, build up savings for emergencies. The rule of thumb is to set aside enough to last you three to six months. You never know when you might need this.
If you want to invest
If you're thinking of venturing into investing to supplement your income or grow your savings, make sure you think through carefully your objectives, personal circumstances, needs, and goals.
You need to know clearly how much risk you are comfortable with taking. You may wish to start off conservatively if you cannot afford to lose money.
Help for single parent families
Various assistance schemes are available for single-parent families.
For instance, ComCare provides social assistance to low-income individuals and families. Depending on your needs and eligibility, you may receive short- to medium-term help or fee subsidies for children from low-income families attending childcare, kindergarten or student care centres.
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.