Don’t ask for a divorce until you’ve done these five things

If reality TV is anything to go by, it would seem we are obsessed with the idea of relationships and marriage.

Married at First Sight, The Bachelor and Bachelorette, Say Yes to the Dress, Australia’s Cheapest Weddings, Bridezillas, Farmer Wants a Wife… The list goes on. And let’s not even get started on the number of eyes glued to screens when Meghan walked down the aisle towards Harry!

But just how successful are the couples on these shows? (Yes, we know the Royal wedding wasn’t actually just a “show”.)

In the excitement of any impending marriage – even a non-reality TV one! –  it can be easy to think “it won’t happen to me”. But the reality is that around one-third of Australian marriages end in divorce, so unfortunately, sometimes in love it can pay to expect the worst.

Below are 5  ways to safeguard your finances after you say the big “I do”, in case you eventually need to say “Oops, actually now I don’t…”.


1) Start preparing even before tying the knot

Don’t wait until you’re married. There are several administrative chores you will want organise as soon as possible, such as signing a prenup or setting up a trust.

Signing a prenup before marrying is absolutely essential if you have more assets or earn more than your new partner, or are expecting a significant inheritance at a future date.

Trusts can be a little more complicated, as the Family Courts can overturn any structure disadvantaging a spouse in divorce. But if you set up a trust in the name of any children you might have from previous relationships, these trust assets will generally be looked at as a financial resource for that child and their children.


2) Familiarize yourself with your finances before making any moves

Many marriages contain a knowledge imbalance when it comes to their finances, with one spouse taking a far more active role than the other.

If you’re the inactive spouse, it can pay to spend some time better understanding your partnership’s different cash flows, assets, and debts before you make a move to end things.


3) Keep track of your partner’s spending habits

Following on from the previous point, you might also want to pay a bit more attention to the ways your partner is spending or saving their hard-earned cash while you’re still together.

This could involve taking a quick peek at any credit card or loan applications, as these are likely to paint the healthiest and most robust picture of their wealth – no “accidentally” forgetting any cash flows here!


4) Get job training or education before filing

Divorce can be financially devastating for anyone who has taken a long break from the workforce – a situation more commonly experienced by women.

Adding a few qualifications to your resume can help you get back on your feet in the event that divorce proceedings leave you high and dry, and you are required to reinvent yourself.


5) Carve out some extra cash for self-care

Regardless of how amicable your separation might be, divorce can be a painful and challenging time for anyone.

Put aside some extra cash for expenses such as counselling, a gym membership, or short weekends away. Acts of self-care can go a long way to keeping you mentally and physically prepared to handle this difficult time. Avoiding additional financial struggles will also help with this.


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Katrina Haskew is Managing Director of Leading Advice.