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Separation, Divorce and Your Finances

If you find yourself going through a relationship breakdown, coping with the emotional aspects is just one step in a long journey. There are also many legal and financial issues that need to be addressed. This is another significant life event where there are professionals willing and able to support and advise you. 

Managing your finances can be challenging even in the best of times. However, it is often the decisions that you make, or don’t make, during transitional periods in your life that will have the most impact on your overall financial picture. If you now face handling the finances on your own or for the first time, there are some tips that can help you:


  • Get organized: The first step you should take, regardless of what stage in the relationship breakdown you may be in, is to organize your financial affairs. This involves:


  1. Finding out exactly what assets you and your spouse/partner own and what debts/liabilities the two of you may have
  2. Figuring out your sources of income and what your cash flow will look like
  3. Gathering all of your financial information and documents – some of the information you should gather are birth/marriage certificates, Wills and Powers of Attorney, current bank statements, tax documents, insurance policies, etc. 
  4. Establishing your own credit – if you have never had credit in your own name, consider applying and establishing your own credit
  5. Opening your own bank account – if you do not have a bank account in your own name, you may want to open one


  • Finding the professional help you need:  Going through a relationship breakdown can be a confusing and stressful experience. Professional advisors can help you cope during this difficult time and provide the information and expertise you need to organize your financial and legal affairs. This may involve seeking out or connecting with your lawyer, accountant and financial advisor.  



Jennifer Taylor, CFP®, PFP, Financial Planner, RBC Royal Bank


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