Divorcing couple

Money tips for managing divorce dramas

Divorce rates are climbing for women over the age of 55 years. Here's the financial issues to consider and tips for managing your way through the drama.

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New data shows that not only are Australian brides and grooms getting older but the median age of divorcees continues to grow as well.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that the highest divorce rates continue to be experienced in a person’s early to mid 40s.

But what’s also interesting is that while the divorce rate as a percentage of the population has been falling across most age brackets, the rate of divorce is actually increasing in the age brackets of 55 and above.

This means that instead of worrying about child rearing issues and child maintenance issues, many women going through divorce later in life are faced with many financial issues.

This might include disparate superannuation balances with little or no chance of correcting them, potentially changes to their Centrelink entitlements, concerns about whether they can buy a home, whether a bank will lend to them, or perhaps they have access to a large settlement, which is quite a big responsibility to have to manage for the first time.

Research by Adviser Ratings has identified that while females make up 57 per cent of those looking for advice, finding a female financial adviser can be difficult. Women account for only 21 per cent of financial advisers, reflective of the gender gaps in the financial services generally.

This comparatively small percentage of women available to offer their unique expertise, demonstrates the supply and demand gap that will intensify at this time of year.

So if you are going through divorce with, or without the help of a financial adviser, here are the six top tips for surviving divorce and beyond:

Create a file to keep your financial documents
Gathering these key documents is going to be important down the track to help your legal and financial team help you sort out your position.

Create some space, privacy and control
Start a bank account in your own name if you don’t have one already, you may also want to think about a post office box and a new email address.

Wherever possible, keep the interactions cordial
The holiday period can be an intense time of year, but from both a psychological and a financial perspective, keeping your interactions as calm and respectful as possible will save you not just stress but probably a fair bit in legal fees.

Think about who else needs to know
Banks, school, employer, doctor – no need to go into detail with them. Just make sure they know you’ve separated, update your contact details, and give them the opportunity to clarify any changes that need to be made to protect you and your interests.

Work out where you’re going to get advice
While personal recommendations are great, there are a number of websites which can guide you to these professionals such as Adviser Ratings.

Take a deep breath
While the entire situation can feel overwhelming at times, remember, not every decision has to be made right away. Give yourself the time and space to work through these decisions in your own time.

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