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Coping Financially After a Separation

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 8 Apr 2024 | 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.

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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Hi all, Why is it that Dads have to bear most of the brunt in these situations?? So many guys I know are in this situation through no fault of their own. Not only are their children taken away and dictated to when, where, how long they can spend with and what they can do with their kids by their ex-spouse. Sometimes I find the advice a bitter pill to swallow and a kick in the teeth - even on this site as the advice is - to give up doing what makes you who you are ….. and go out and work harder and take on more jobs to take your mind off the situation - only to find that that what you have worked your backside off all week for is to be deducted with taxes and child maintenance (which is completely and unfairly based before tax & national insurance!) I have gone through this and am still dealing with it too. Not only are dads left picking up the pieces, they are automatically stigmatised as the party at fault and are treated differently based on people’s misjudgments. Not only having to deal with the stigma being a single dad at times, working another job or more hours, putting up with abuse from your ex spouse, but you need to reserve enough time and energy to be a father and put a smile on when you see their mother! All without seeing your kids until the mother decides! I don’t see much support for fathers out thereto help them get through what is most likely the hardest time in their life emotionally than there are support and support groups for mothers to claim whatever they can - including the clothes off a man’s back! The amount of fathers and GOOD MEN out there that are being walked over and treated like this is disgusting. I feel for you guys.
Bill - 8-Apr-24 @ 2:01 PM
Hi all, Why is it that Dads have to bear most of the brunt in these situations?? So many guys I know are in this situation through no fault of their own. Not only are their children taken away and dictated to when, where, how long they can spend with and what they can do with their kids by their ex-spouse. Sometimes I find the advice a bitter pill to swallow and a kick in the teeth - even on this site as the advice is - to give up doing what makes you who you are ….. and go out and work harder and take on more jobs to take your mind off the situation - only to find that that what you have worked your backside off all week for is to be deducted with taxes and child maintenance (which is completely and unfairly based before tax & national insurance!) I have gone through this and am still dealing with it too. Not only are dads left picking up the pieces, they are automatically stigmatised as the party at fault and are treated differently based on people’s misjudgments. Not only having to deal with the stigma being a single dad at times, working another job or more hours, putting up with abuse from your ex spouse, but you need to reserve enough time and energy to be a father and put a smile on when you see their mother! All without seeing your kids until the mother decides! I don’t see much support for fathers out thereto help them get through what is most likely the hardest time in their life emotionally than there are support and support groups for mothers to claim whatever they can - including the clothes off a man’s back! The amount of fathers and GOOD MEN out there that are being walked over and treated like this is disgusting. I feel for you guys.
Bill - 8-Apr-24 @ 2:00 PM
Hello. I’ve recently separated from my partner and has now been over two months since I haven’t seen nor spoken with my son. He’s a child, with autism, and we’ve never been separated if not for school time or day out with the mum and the sister (my ex had another daughter from her ex partner). My ex’s daughter never accepted me, and she did everything during the years of my relationship with her mum to kick me out of the house. I ended up being taken away from my house, and now I’m homeless, with no possibility of renting anywhere due to the cost of mortgage (that I pay in full even though my ex is on the deed and lives in the house), the child support maintenance, and some loans that were made during the relationship to buy the family car (that my ex’s drive), some gifts for the ex’s daughter that was really expensive and my ex didn’t accept a “we can’t afford it now” as an answer, the loan for my car (that I’m trying to sell but my ex is refusing to give me the documents and DVLA would send them only to my old address), and the lawyers. I’m basically without money to live and support myself, I’m lucky to have good friends that are hosting and supporting me, but I cannot be here forever. The CSM said that even though I pay the mortgage I still have to pay the child maintenance (I want to support my son, there is no question about it) and if I don’t it’ll become criminal issue; my ex is playing the victim with friends and family but meanwhile she went abroad with the kids (without my consent) and nothing happened, she lied to the DWP for the child maintenance and nothing happened, she states to the involved parties that she has to go to food banks, but meanwhile she posts pictures of her and the kids in fine dining places, with cocktails, etc… my lawyers don’t even get a reply from her, the only thing we know is that she is not wanting to sell the house, and that because there are children involved the law is on her side. I’m in deep depression, supported by psychologist and GP, but I don’t know for how long I can continue all this. I feel powerless in this country, and I feel like there is no escape, no way to make things better. Can anyone help please?
Thenomnom - 29-Aug-22 @ 10:26 AM
Hey Sam why don't you and Gordonget together then you can both run me down call me autistic mama's boy ha ha ha ,I called all you bums out not one showed up what you scared off a little autistic mama's boy? ,get the f out off here I wouldn't date a ugly old hoe like you if you where the only women left on the planet, and I want nothingto do with your hoe ass daughter I laughed when I heard she was raped .you come near my place and I will bash the living f out off you .
C laurie - 28-Aug-22 @ 12:41 AM
You don't stop ,you need two this is not good (,you are messed up Sam you always where) .(please keep your distance from me) .
C laurie - 27-Aug-22 @ 1:45 PM
Hello. I’ve recently separated from my partner and has now been over two months since I haven’t seen nor spoken with my son. He’s a child, with autism, and we’ve never been separated if not for school time or day out with the mum and the sister (my ex had another daughter from her ex partner). My ex’s daughter never accepted me, and she did everything during the years of my relationship with her mum to kick me out of the house. I ended up being taken away from my house, and now I’m homeless, with no possibility of renting anywhere due to the cost of mortgage (that I pay in full even though my ex is on the deed and lives in the house), the child support maintenance, and some loans that were made during the relationship to buy the family car (that my ex’s drive), some gifts for the ex’s daughter that was really expensive and my ex didn’t accept a “we can’t afford it now” as an answer, the loan for my car (that I’m trying to sell but my ex is refusing to give me the documents and DVLA would send them only to my old address), and the lawyers. I’m basically without money to live and support myself, I’m lucky to have good friends that are hosting and supporting me, but I cannot be here forever. The CSM said that even though I pay the mortgage I still have to pay the child maintenance (I want to support my son, there is no question about it) and if I don’t it’ll become criminal issue; my ex is playing the victim with friends and family but meanwhile she went abroad with the kids (without my consent) and nothing happened, she lied to the DWP for the child maintenance and nothing happened, she states to the involved parties that she has to go to food banks, but meanwhile she posts pictures of her and the kids in fine dining places, with cocktails, etc… my lawyers don’t even get a reply from her, the only thing we know is that she is not wanting to sell the house, and that because there are children involved the law is on her side. I’m in deep depression, supported by psychologist and GP, but I don’t know for how long I can continue all this. I feel powerless in this country, and I feel like there is no escape, no way to make things better. Can anyone help please?
Thenomnom - 27-Aug-22 @ 11:33 AM
Hi all, 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.

Our Response:
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.?
Jam - 9-Sep-11 @ 12:36 AM
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