The term “divorce” has seen an 80% increase in Google searches year-on-year and searches for ‘joint account after divorce’ have increased by 68%, with the last 17 months clearly testing people’s relationships, some to breaking point.
They found that half (47%) of the Brits who currently have a joint bank account feel like they were not given the right guidance or advice on what would happen to their account if they were to separate.
The end of a relationship or the breakdown of a marriage is often one of the most stressful times in anyone’s lives and disputes can have a lasting impact on families and the individuals involved.
Almost half (46%) of Brits said that agreeing on what to do with their marital home and any outstanding mortgage payments was one of the most stressful parts of their separation.
The research found that four in ten (39%) found it very difficult to separate their finances, and 58% believe that their previous experiences will put them off ever having a joint account again in future.
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Separating when a couple share joint finances can also lead to debt as some may find themselves having to pay off amounts that their partner has accrued.
This is something that nearly half of Brits (45%) found as one of the most stressful experiences from their financial split.
Having their own credit score impacted by their partner’s behaviour was named as the biggest stress for 31% of those asked.
What’s more is a further 30% said that agreeing on how to split savings, investments or other funds was the most stressful part.
How to handle joint finances
John Pears, Managing Director of Lowell, offers his advice to any couples with joint finances going through a separation.
“Separations are always difficult, and if you have combined and intertwined finances then things can get even more tricky. Many people are not aware that when you break-up, you are both equally liable for any joint debt – even if it was not you who spent the money.
To make sure things go as well as they can do during a separation, these are some steps suggested by John:
- If you can, communicate clearly with your partner about what will happen with your finances. Talking things over and coming to a mutual agreement can benefit an already difficult situation, however, understandably, this is not always possible.
- Ensure that you tell your bank about your separation as soon as possible so that they can freeze the account.
- If things are acrimonious, move your wage and regular incomes into a different account. This will help to keep things separate from your partner when you receive any future payments.
- Work out your new budget. Following a separation, your income and outgoings are going to be substantially different to before. You should prepare yourself for this by working out a new budget, so you can understand your financial situation and what you are able to spend.
- Know that you are not alone. As highlighted in the research, many Brits go through financial separations and although it is not easy, there are many people and organizations out there to help you – so don’t be afraid to reach out but take care to ensure that you are getting your advice from reputable sources.
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