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.
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.
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.
I have just been issued with a divorce petition from my ex's solicitor (yesterday). I moved out the family home under two years ago after sticking around for many years after she had an affair. My child was very young at the time and I made the decision to stick around until she was older as there wasnt a bad atmosphere, but the relationship was dead. We just led pretty much single lives. My daughter is now 14 and in the petition she asks me to pay the legal fees for the divorce and that the house will go up for sale but the equity will be split 70-30 in her favour. For the whole 20 yrs in the property I have been the only person who has made payments. She has now even asked me to continue to pay 100% of the mortgage until the house is sold. But I am not allowed access to carry out any improvement work to get the best possible price for the house. Question is, do I have the right to enter the house to carry out work (with notice given to her of course)?One other question... If I pay half the mortgage, will I be expected to also pay child maintenance or is it one of the other?
uptownguy - 19-Jun-19 @ 4:09 PM
Can you help. I'm separated from wife but live in same house got 4 kids met new parter want to move out as not fair on anyone. What do I need to pay?
J - 27-Nov-18 @ 9:06 PM
Ok, I own a house with my wife, I earn twice her wage and we have 2 children, 1 of which is not mine.We want to separate and she agreed, however we owe a lot of money on credit cards, over £20k.She says because I am the main earner I need to pay half of everything and all the debt is mine to pay as it is in my name only.
I am at a total loss as to what to do, I cant afford to rent or buy somewhere when paying out all that money to her.She says that she will make sure I can afford to live anywhere nice by taking as much money as she can including child maintenance
Any advice as to who is or isn't right?
InAPickle - 6-Nov-18 @ 7:02 PM
Tucker - Your Question:
I have a son with my ex. When we broke up we agreed a price I should pay her monthly for my son support, the figure worked ans covers all his needs, I agreed to take him clothes shopping every 3 months and also deliver a weekly food shop every other week on top of the monthly agreed figure. She also receives child tax benefit as she told.me she will tell them she doesn't know who the father is in order to get more money.My ex asked me for more money, when I asked what is it for she couldn't state as all my son's cost are covered.However my ex told me csa told her she can get double what I am giving her. I have debts which I am paying off and I also have another child from a previous relationship who I also pay for.Me paying this new figure from csa will actually leave me paying out more each month than I actually earn, she can not state why she needs this extra money as my sons needs are covered.She has made a claim to csa to get more money for greed not support of our child, but csa dont care and are going ahead with their assessment. Is there any help I can receive as I am always willing to pay for my sons needs but I cant afford to pay her extra money for her wants.
You only have to pay CMS the amount required for child maintenance. If you pay your ex money above and beyond child maintenance, this is at your discretion (unless a court has ordered spousal maintenance).
SeparatedDads - 13-Feb-18 @ 3:19 PM
I have a son with my ex. When we broke up we agreed aprice i should pay her monthly for my son support, the figure worked ans covers all his needs, I agreed to take him clothes shopping every 3 months and also deliver a weekly food shop every other week on top of the monthly agreed figure. She also receives child tax benefit as she told.me she will tell them she doesn't know who the father is in order to get more money.
My ex asked me for more money, when I asked what is it for she couldn't state as all my son's cost are covered.
However my ex told me csa told her she can get double what I am giving her. I have debts which I am paying off and I also have another child from a previous relationship who I also pay for.
Me paying this new figure from csa will actually leave me paying out more each month than I actually earn, she can not state why she needs this extra money as my sons needs are covered.
She has made a claim to csa to get more money for greed not support of our child, but csa dont care and are going ahead with their assessment. Is there any help I can receive as I am always willing to pay for my sons needs but I cant afford to pay her extra money for her wants.
Tucker - 13-Feb-18 @ 8:30 AM
@Igoliver - why don't you say give it a year and if we are still estranged and if you have both moved on, then you'll agree to sell the house. Say that if she'll agree to atttend mediation, then you'll put it in writing. But in reality, she is entitled to half the house and perhaps for you both it may be a new start (especially if you are living around so many memories). I'm always of the opinion to give people what they want. So you could sell the hosue, pay off the debts and start afresh. Sometimes it's better than wallowing in the past and you'd have to do it at some point if you don't get back together. On the other hand you could refuse to and tell her to take you to court. There are two people in your relationship and it's her that has decided she wants to go. The only problem if she takes it to court is that it will be a massive financial cost to you both. Whatever you do best of luck.
M8 - 23-Oct-17 @ 12:49 PM
Can anyone help please. My wife is convinced our marriage is over and wishes to move out. She wants to rent somewhere and initially was looking at this as a trail separation. She has refused to see couples councilling or anything similar. Today she has said she has had enough and wants me to sell the house and give her half. I really don't want to do that as this is the family home. Orginal ly we had planned for me to stay and keep the house going and her to move into a flat or similar with our two youngest children being free to go between either place. This has come as a bit of a hard hit today.
The house is mortgaged and a has a loan against it. We have several personal debts. There are some minor jobs required on the house but it's in good order otherwise. It's just full of fifteen years worth of memories, toys, miscellaneous stuff.
What can I do?
Igoliver - 22-Oct-17 @ 5:32 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.?