Ten things to remember.
Do your calculations and put a financial plan in place.
The biggest fear of especially women is that they won’t be financially secure after a divorce.
One of the most important steps to take before you unleash your lawyers on your soon to be ex-spouse, is to see a specialist divorce financial advisor to help you figure out how much capital and maintenance you will need to be financially secure.
An accrual calculation will tell what you are entitled to, but the trick is not to destroy the accumulated wealth. Rather divide your estate as fair and cost effective as possible.
- See a specialist financial planner at the start of the process. This will help you analyse how the various divorce settlement options you’ll be presented with will impact your future financial security.
- Understand your marriage contract, and if you don’t, find someone who can help you. Are you married in or out of community of property? If you are married in community or out of community with the Accrual system, you are entitled to half of the marriage’s estate.
- Remember that you can sue for rehabilitation maintenance. This is for the interim costs involved in setting up house again – relocating cost, utility bills, or even studying again to update your skills or qualifications.
- Draft a Comprehensive budget of your current monthly expenses. For you and your children. Be sure to include future expenses like cricket bats or swimming lessons for the kids. Secure the monthly maintenance with an insurance policy on your ex-spouses life in case he/she becomes disabled or dies. This policy can be ceded back to your ex-spouse once the children are financially secure.
- Try to stay in your house (if it’s safe and close to your school or work). This will give you and your children stability. Also remember that you shouldn’t have to pay transfer duties for a property transferred to you during a divorce. There may, however, be a bond registration and attorney fee. You can always sell the property later or rent it out.
- Ensure that your settlement agreement is drafted with the correct wording when you claim from each other’s retirement funds. The policy numbers, names of the funds and the percentage MUST be in the order to have a valid claim.
- Include a clause in your contract that states that a subsequent claim on any assets that weren’t disclosed can be made. (If you are married in community or out of community with the Accrual system).
- Don’t settle for less to get it over with. Divorce is a legal process that takes time and strategic planning. Don’t accept less than 50% of the joint estate, as is prescribed by your marriage contract because you allow your emotions to override the process.
- Remember that your ex-spouse’s assets also include companies, retirement funds, shares and share options, holiday clubs etc.
- Change your beneficiary nominations on all policies including company benefits. You also have to draft a new will as soon as the divorce process starts. Should anything happen to you and your will have not been amended; your estate will revert to your last will.