Have you experienced or gone through a divorce recently? We empathise. The end of a marriage is a difficult and painful thing. That’s why we’ve written this piece that covers financial help for newly divorced woman. Because divorce can also be empowering – as it allows you to make a fresh start and take your life in a new direction as you orchestrate the next chapter on your journey.
Dealing with the emotional and psychological impact of your divorce is going to be a major part of what you need to focus on so you can heal and move forward with your life. Get the support and help you need that will allow you to do so. But dealing with the financial side of things is another piece of the puzzle you’ll need to address as you reinvent your life – so providing financial advice for newly divorced women is a responsibility we take seriously.
Where you are on that journey is going to be different for everyone. You may be in a very strong financial position post your divorce, or things could feel like a struggle. So let’s explore some of the options.
Financial Help Pre-Divorce
Gone are the days when men were the only ones taking care of the family’s finances. Today women are independent and are often the key financial decision makers in the home, which means as a woman you may have been responsible for most of the wealth creation in the marriage – and that will impact how you think about divorce and negotiating a divorce settlement.
Hopefully you’re reading this before your divorce has been finalised. Because getting the best help in advance, especially legal and financial, will make a significant difference is being able to secure the best outcome for yourself.
Preparation includes empowering yourself with fundamental financial advice for women and gaining an understanding of the various elements of your finances:
Maks sure you understand your marriage contract and its implications – are you married in community of property, ANC with/without accrual?
Know the extent of all your ongoing financial needs and expenses – undertaking an extensive cashflow planning exercise can be helpful to calculate any potential ongoing maintenance claims and obligations, as well as the need for things like life cover, post divorce. This also allows you to negotiate a fair and equitable divorce settlement by understanding your rights and ensuring you have the full picture of your spouse’s estate and that nothing is being hidden from you.
And then there are all the ‘softer’ considerations that tend to revolve around kids, dependents and even pets. So as much as you’d like to get everything over with, proper planning and preparation will allow to understand your rights and negotiate a fair settlement – so that you can really move on with your life and make that fresh start.
That’s why working with a specialist divorce attorney and qualified financial planner will make sure you have a team that’s on your side and can help you plan accordingly.
Financial Help for Newly Divorced Woman Post Divorce
Once your divorce has been finalised, mastering the financial side of your life could take time as you adjust to your new reality. And that is true whether you were in charge of the family’s finances, or your former spouse was. So don’t feel daunted whatever your current level of knowledge or confidence when it comes to managing finances.
The following financial planning tips will serve as a useful guide to follow.
1. Master Your Cashflow
Understanding exactly how much money you have coming in (income) versus how much money you spend each month (expenses) forms the foundation of getting your finances on track. That may seem obvious but it’s not necessarily something that comes naturally to everyone. Again, this is something a good financial planner can help with if managing budgets etc. is not something you’re comfortable with or enjoy doing. It may mean being realistic about what you really need/don’t need in your life to get to the point where you have the money you need to be able to invest in yourself, your future and get ahead financially.
2. Develop a Strategy to Get Out of Debt
Having excess and unnecessary debt is a heavy burden to carry and creates a lot of stress and anxiety in life. The sooner you become debt free, the better and more confident you’ll feel about your life – and which will allow you to turbo-charge your strategies for achieving financial freedom and security.
3. Invest Intelligently
Whether you’re in a position to do so straight away, or need to sort out your cashflow first, investing smartly and thoughtfully is the most important step to securing your financial future. If you’re lucky enough to be in a healthy financial position post the divorce and need to think about how to invest your money, there is a lot to think about. From buying property, starting a business, investing for income, planning for your retirement, investing offshore – there are a variety of options to consider depending on your needs, circumstances, what you want etc.
And if things are tough financially right now for you, take things step-by-step, like getting on top of your cashflow and expenses so that you put yourself in a position down the road where you can invest to secure your financial future. Ultimately, the most important person you can invest in is yourself – what can you do to upskill yourself? The world is changing and evolving rapidly; the skills in demand now will be very different in the next 5-10 years.
Jobs and Skills of the Future
4. Rethink Your Estate Plan
After a divorce, it’s crucial to reassess your estate planning strategy. Why? Because your former spouse is likely still listed as a beneficiary or executor in your current plan. It’s like giving them a free ticket to your financial world, and you don’t want that. It’s time for a do-over.
So, get out your will and dust it off. Review it with a fine-tooth comb and make sure you’re happy with the beneficiaries, guardians for minor children, and the executors you’ve chosen. Replace your ex-spouse if necessary.
Next, re-evaluate your estate’s liquidity. Remember, your estate value may have changed post-divorce, which may impact estate duty, so it’s best to ensure your estate has sufficient liquidity to meet these costs.
Don’t forget about your retirement funds and life policies. Your ex might still be listed as your beneficiary there too. Contact your retirement fund and insurance company to make necessary changes.
This can feel overwhelming, but remember, you don’t have to go it alone. Partnering with a trusted financial advisor can make this process much smoother. Consider it a step towards securing your financial independence and future – because you’re worth it!
Government and Social Grants
Financial help for newly divorced woman in the form social grants provided by the government are means tested. In other words to qualify, your income and assets would need to fall below certain thresholds. But things like the child support grant and care dependency grant could help you if you’re under financial strain and meet the requirements. Here is a link that summarises some of the different grants and eligibility criteria: Everything You Need to Know About Social Grants
Understand Your Rights In Respect of Maintenance
Hopefully you came to a fair and equitable agreement as part of the divorce settlement, including any maintenance claims where appropriate. That takes us back to our original point of being fully prepared before your divorce is finalised by understanding your rights and calculating a potential settlement agreement that won’t leave you worse off than before. Once a maintenance claim is agreed or enforced, if your spouse fails to provide the financial support agreed upon, you can approach the Courts to enforce payment.
If you’re looking for financial help for newly divorced woman, everything may seem daunting. It doesn’t need to be. Surround yourself with people you can trust who will guide you in making decisions that empower you and will help you secure your future, both financially and emotionally. Whatever your current level of financial literacy and confidence, you can create the life you want, one small step at a time.