For those going through a divorce or separation it feels like the world has temporarily ended.  As well as worrying about what’s going to happen to the house, where you’re going to live and who the children are going to live with, often one of the most worrying things can be how you’re going to manage financially in the short term.  It may be that you are used to being supported financially by your former partner or that you are the main breadwinner and are worried about how the bills are going to be paid for two households.  Resolving these issues can be very difficult as tensions are often running very high between newly separated couples.

People often feel completely out of control and can’t begin to think about how they might resolve any financial issues arising from their separation.  Here are some options that can be explored to ease the financial burden of a separation:

  • Council tax benefit – If you are not working or are the only adult in the household you may be entitled to a 25% reduction in your council tax.  It is worth contacting the council to find out whether you are entitled to this as it will help to reduce your monthly outgoings.
  • Child benefit – The parent with care of the children is entitled to have this paid into their bank account and you will need to contact the Department of Work and Pensions if any changes need to be made.
  • Tax credits – It is worth contacting the Department of Work and Pensions following a separation to see whether you are entitled to either working family tax credits and/or child tax credits if your household income has changed.
  • Child maintenance – If you are the parent with whom the children live you are entitled to maintenance for the children.  The formula used is set by the Child Support Agency unless it falls outside of their scope, in which case you will need to take independent legal advice.
  • Spousal maintenance – This only applies if you were married.  It may be that you are entitled to maintenance to help meet your day to day living expenses.  This is often the case if your former partner has significantly higher earnings than you or you have been supported by them throughout the marriage.  It is a complicated issue and it is important that you seek legal advice from an experienced family solicitor.

These are some of the ways you can make things a little easier financially if you are going through a separation.  In due course, the longer term financial picture will need to be considered.  It is advisable that you instruct a family solicitor to advise and guide you through the process and ensure that you have all of the information that you need in order to make informed decisions.

If you are going through a separation or are already separated and need advice about financial issues arising from a marriage or relationship breakdown please contact Shaun Hulme at our Head office on 0113 284 5117 or at

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