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Coping Financially After a Separation

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 5 Sep 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Separated Dads Finances Depression

There’s a lot more to separation that learning to deal with a new emotional state or making arrangements regarding your children. In practical terms, sorting out your finances can be one of the trickiest areas.

The simple fact is that you’re almost certainly going to have less money than you did before. Where you’d probably been used to two incomes, there will now be only one, and that will be further depleted by whatever you have to pay in maintenance for your child, which can take a serious chunk – possibly a quarter – off your net income.

Living With Less

The very first thing to do is review your finances. If you and your ex have any joint bank or building society accounts, you’ll need to close them and re-open as individual accounts. There might have been direct debits relating to your old relationship that no longer apply (phone bills or council tax, for example). Make sure you cancel these.

If you’re paying into a pension or an ISA, take a look at how much you’re contributing and consider reducing it. In the long run, you’ll want to re-assess, but in the short term, you can probably use the cash for day-to-day bills.

Take a look at exactly what you need to survive each month – rent or mortgage, council tax, heat, electricity, food etc. There might be very little left over, so you’ll need to set yourself a budget, and make sure you stick to it. If at all possible, try to save some money each week, even if it’s only £5.

Ideally, you should have a cushion of money in the bank, the equivalent of three to six months’ salary in case of emergencies or unemployment. However, in a lot of cases that simply isn’t possible, so save slowly and make sure you don’t touch the amount unless it’s absolutely necessary.

If you smoke, this is the perfect incentive to stop – at 20 a day, you’ll be saving well over £200 a month, which you can use for other things.

How to Make More Money

It might be worth dusting off your CV and applying for a better job where you can earn more money. You can also look into part-time jobs that will work around your regular hours, but make sure you still leave time for contact with your children. With an additional part-time job, not only will you be making extra money, but you’ll be around a new set of people, which can expand your social life, too.

What Not To Do

One thing to avoid is using your credit cards. It might seem like a good option when money is tight, but it’s one that will come back to haunt you. You can quickly find yourself struggling in debt, and forced to turn to consumer credit counselling to extract yourself. Cut up most of your credit cards to avoid the temptation. Keep one for absolute, unavoidable emergencies.

Depression

One side effect of having very little money and constantly struggling to get by can be depression. If you find yourself succumbing to this, talk to your GP. The doctor should be able to suggest remedies, including counselling, that could help alleviate your depression. See our article How to Stop Emotional Meltdown on this site.

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Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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EqualityGirl - Your Question:
HiyaI'm a 35 year old divorced single mum, I've never asked for financial help from my sons dad as I was more concerned with making money to support my son, rather than expecting it from there dad. Equal Rights Should not stop at the Vote!! I feel for divorced dads who are financially crippled after a marriage breakdown. A good friend of mine who has recently got divorced is getting emotionally and financially blackmailed by his ex wife and she is using the children as bait to get what she wants. She is currently demanding that he pays the full amount of the mortgage and pay £150 per week for his 3 girls in maintenance, this is unrealistic. But unless he agrees she refuses to let him see his children. She has now resorted to phoning his boss to check up on him and spreading lies about him to ex bosses and future ones, which obviously is stressful and hugely embarrassing for my friend, I don't know what she wants to gain from this kind of behaviour as if my friend loses his job her and his children will receive nothing. She seems emotionally unstable and will go to any lengths to get what she wants. He is currently working at least 6 days a week 12 hours a day and living in a tiny room in a shared house, prior to that he spend a month living in his car. I've advised him to create a diary of her uncontrollable and threatening behaviour and save all texts and communication to him and others and seek legal advice. However he is not in a position financially to pay for solicitors fees and I was hoping if anyone could point me in the direction of a charity that supports separated or divorced dads going through similar situations. He is based in Essex as unfortunately free advice and guidance seems to be a bit of a postcode lottery. If there is no such charity, there should be! this kind of scenario seems to be far too common in todays society, If women want equal rights and pay, then surely that should mean equal outgoings and parental access too. Anyone with similar experiences please get in touch as I would like to take this further and highlight it to the government/media etc. all names and personal details will be kept confidential. Stay Strong, don't let the b****es grind you down

Our Response:
If your friend cannot afford the legal fees to take the matter to court he can self-litigate, please see link: here. Please also see: Using a McKenzie Friend in Court, here. If your friend is being harassed, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 6-Sep-16 @ 12:00 PM
Hiya I'm a 35 year old divorced single mum, I've never asked for financial help from my sons dad as I was more concerned with making money to support my son, rather than expecting it from there dad. Equal Rights Should not stop at the Vote!! I feel for divorced dads who are financially crippled after a marriage breakdown. A good friend of mine who has recently got divorced is getting emotionally and financially blackmailed by his ex wife and she is using the children as bait to get what she wants. She is currently demanding that he pays the full amount of the mortgage and pay £150 per week for his 3 girls in maintenance, this is unrealistic. But unless he agrees she refuses to let him see his children. She has now resorted to phoning his boss to check up on him and spreading lies about him to ex bosses and future ones, which obviously is stressful and hugely embarrassing for my friend, I don't know what she wants to gain from this kind of behaviour as if my friend loses his job her and his children will receive nothing. She seems emotionally unstable and will go to any lengths to get what she wants. He is currently working at least 6 days a week 12 hours a day and living in a tiny room in a shared house, prior to that he spend a month living in his car. I've advised him to create a diary of her uncontrollable and threatening behaviour and save all texts and communication to him and others and seek legal advice. However he is not in a position financially to pay for solicitors fees and I was hoping if anyone could point me in the direction of a charity that supports separated or divorced dads going through similar situations. He is based in Essex as unfortunately free advice and guidance seems to be a bit of a postcode lottery. If there is no such charity, there should be! this kind of scenario seems to be far too common in todays society, If women want equal rights and pay, then surely that should mean equal outgoings and parental access too. Anyone with similar experiences please get in touch as I would like to take this further and highlight it to the government/media etc. all names and personal details will be kept confidential. Stay Strong, don't let the b****es grind you down
EqualityGirl - 5-Sep-16 @ 5:01 PM
@Hobo Romeo - this is a very good question and rather than answer it myself, I have put it to our Separated Dads Facebook page in order to let our followers answer it. Many of them have been through the same or similar issues before and are usually armed with some great advice, so be sure to check the page and see what they say. I hope it helps.
SeparatedDads - 23-Apr-15 @ 2:10 PM
Hi guys. I've been separated from my wife for a year now. I have two young children and own a house which my ex and my children live in. I've been living with my brother and his girlfriend since the split but still paying half of my mortgage so we can keep the house going for the children. This on top of my rent and other bills leaves me with next to nothing. No money to spend on my children who I have every other weekend and see twice a week. My ex however seems to be better off financial without me and is constantly buying new clothes and shoes and having hair and nails done. Anyway here's the thing. The landlord we are currently renting from does not want to renew our lease and my brother and his girlfriend want to get a smaller cheaper place on their own. I now have no where to live and cannot afford to put down a deposit (because I'm still paying the mortgage). My ex cannot (apparently) afford the mortgage herself and I still feel guilty about leaving. So now I have no money. No where to live and I miss my children so much. I just don't know what to do and am at my wits end. I had everything apart from me not being happy in my relationship. If I say I can't afford to pay anything towards the mortgage my ex will kick off and it's just got to a point where we are being civil and getting along for the children. Any advice would be grateful because I'm at a loss as to where I go from here.
Hobo Romeo - 22-Apr-15 @ 12:01 PM
Hi there, I am asking on bhalf of my brother in law. he seperated from his long term partner whom he has 2 kids aged 10 and 15. his ex has their 5 bed house and has her other son and daughter living in the house with them. My brother in law still pays the motgage on the property and has to live in a caravan on a building site where he works as he cant afford anything else whilst she works full time, has 4 full time wages coming into the house and is demanding more money as she has fallen behind with the council tax. she also claims all the benefits for the children, child benefit and tax credits whist he struggles to make ends meet. can anyone offer some advise as he cant afford a solicitor???
gadger - 23-Apr-13 @ 8:01 PM
Hi all, Just wanted to share my story, Had a mental breakdown back in 2010, (i had asked my wife to help out and return to work prior to this but I got a no way.) Anyway she moved out in December 2011 putting visiting restrictions on me seeing the kids, (This was hard as I'd bee looking after them for the last year or so with support of my family.) To shorten the story, my ex filed for a divorce and got the house, when I say the house we owned two thirds of it thats what she got, she kept the kids, the car and now I am to be homeless within the next month. I have 23k of dept which will come out of the 30k I was awarded. So yes she has got around 200k in capital and my entire efforts from the last 25 years. (The judge told me life isn't fair) priceless. Now she is starting the CSA claim just to add insult. (she returned to work after a nine year break.) now she has mananaged to ensure I have even less time with them and I have had to stop my child act application as I wont have a hope in hell of getting them to stay over without an address. Who said Fathers have rights when the system is bias from the start. I phoned my children every night since they left, regardless if she let me speak to them or not, I have never refused to look after them, even if I know its only to her advantage. My kids are the most important thing in my life, yet she uses them as weapons to further the pain.I don't drink, not a wife beater, the only thing I done wrong is become ill, it cost me everything, regardless of the years we spent happily together. Anyone else got similiar stories, and advice on how to get through this difficult time. (I still suffer with anxiety and depression.) but have been making good progress since she left, every cloud and all that.
Screwed by her brief - 23-Jul-12 @ 9:17 PM
Just got my decree nisi through and am still, unfortunately, living in the family home with my two kids and ex, he refuses to mobe out.We are both joint owners of the family property and I am solely reliant on disability benefits to provide solely for my kids.The mortgage/utilities etc are paid by my ex but he doesn't clean or look after the house.He has now boarded up and locked the central heating and water controls so I can not gain access.As I have a severe form of arthritis a constant supply of sufficient hot water and heating is necessary.As the boiler is not very good and needs replacing it is only possible to have enough hot water to wash up and have one bath a day and as he has put the controls on a minimum setting it may not be possible to have this now and, if the weather turns colder, I will not get enough warmth.This is going to have a detrimental effect on my health and seriously damage the level of care I can give my kids.What can I do?
Desparate - 21-Jul-12 @ 3:10 PM
Having been separated from my wife for 3 months,how long should I carry on paying utility bills for,seeing she is still living in the house.She claims child tax credit,job seekers allowance etc,plus child maintenanace which I pay her,which in all adds up to about £300 per week.
rich - 2-May-12 @ 4:52 PM
I have to travel from London to Glasgow fortnightly in order to have contact weekend sessions with my 3 year old son. The travel costs are becoming too draining on my finances. Is there any financial support I can get from the authorities etc.?
Jam - 9-Sep-11 @ 12:36 AM
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