Sur­viv­ing unkind cut

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Business -

Q: My hus­band has just asked for a di­vorce com­pletely out of the blue and I am very wor­ried be­cause he has been man­ag­ing a lot of our joint fi­nances. What should I do?

Stephanie – Cottes­loe

A: It is not un­usual for one part­ner in a mar­riage to be in con­trol of the fi­nances, but this can be a dis­ad­van­tage to the other part­ner when a sep­a­ra­tion oc­curs.

Par­tic­u­larly when you are in that po­si­tion, the first thing you should do is make an ap­point­ment with an ex­pe­ri­enced fam­ily lawyer.

They can ob­vi­ously give you an un­der­stand­ing of your en­ti­tle­ments with re­spect to spousal main­te­nance and prop­erty set­tle­ment, but some­times more im­por­tantly at an early stage, they can pro­vide ad­vice about how to se­cure your fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.

For ex­am­ple, a lawyer may sug­gest that you se­cure some cash for your­self in a new bank ac­count that your hus­band can’t ac­cess, that you re­move or limit re­draw fa­cil­i­ties on joint loans or that you seek to re­strain your hus­band from sell­ing as­sets with­out your con­sent.

In prepa­ra­tion for your ap­point­ment you should try and pre­pare as de­tailed a list as pos­si­ble of all as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties owned by you and your hus­band (jointly and in­di­vid­u­ally) or held in any fam­ily trusts.

This in­cludes any busi­ness in­ter­ests, real es­tate, cash, shares and su­per­an­nu­a­tion, as well as ex­ist­ing debts such as mort­gages and loans.

If you have a fi­nan­cial plan­ner or an ac­coun­tant, they may be able to as­sist you with this.

Troy.macmil­lan@twd.com.au

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