Avoiding Financial Mistakes in Your Divorce
Avoiding financial mistakes in a divorce can go a long way in easing the pain. From not being aware of all joint marital assets to ignoring alternative dispute resolution avenues, we highlight these critical points so that you can avoid making them.
Being aware of Your Assets
If your partner has a better understanding of the joint marital assets, they are likely to fully understand the current financial standing. If you suspect that your spouse is likely or in the process of liquidating or re-titling joint marital assets, notify the holder in writing and get a restraining order from the court, you may proceed to take out an application in court for dissipation of marital assets.
Be aware of all your assets and how much cash is in your joint savings/ investment accounts (shares). You will need to make an inventory of all the marital assets before even contemplating splitting them up. In addition, you should track your insurance policies and all outstanding family debt.
Holding On to the Family Home
The parent with primary custody of the children will usually want to stay in the family home to limit disruptions in the children’s lives. However, you may not be in a financial position to take over the loan. Before you decide if keeping the house is the right move, understand if you meet the eligibility criteria to retain the flat.
For a HDB dwelling you may need to refinance the loan if there is an outstanding mortgage on the property. As a single parent, you would be eligible to retain the flat if you have care and control of your children. If you do not have children, you would be able to retain the flat under the Single Singaporeans Scheme if you are a Singapore citizen who is at least 35 years old and your matrimonial flat is a resale flat purchased from the open market without the CPF Housing grant for family.
Otherwise, you may have to consider selling your home and downsizing. You would be eligible to sell your HDB flat if you have reached the minimum occupancy period (MOP) of at least 5 years.
Not Considering Mediation or Collaborative Divorce
If you and your spouse want to avoid the financial and emotional aggravation of a contested divorce (courtroom battle) and willing to come to agreements outside of court, the alternative dispute resolution route provides more flexibility than the adversarial legal process. Collaborative divorce puts you and your spouse in control as well as saving parties thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Forgetting to Update Estate Documents
If you are contemplating filing for divorce, it is important to make or update your Will. Under the law, at least half of your assets will go to your spouse in the event of your demise if you do not have a Will. Hence, you may wish to instruct a lawyer to prepare a Will for you. You will then be able to specify who will receive your assets and in what proportions. You should also note that a Will executed before your marriage is automatically revoked once you get married.
Divorce is not a pleasant process, but it can be made even more unpleasant if you make critical financial mistakes. The ultimate goal of a successful divorce is for you to part ways with youth fair share of the assets.