Divorce involves more than the separating of a relationship. It involves unbundling everything connected with that relationship. That includes finances. This can be very complicated, especially if a marriage has been long. There are, however, some standard considerations most people should keep in mind when filing for a divorce.

Basic welfare

The most immediate thought here may be the welfare of children. This is, of course, of paramount importance. Equally, however, the splitting couple themselves need to be able to maintain an adequate standard of living. This means that even when the marriage was short and there were no children, it is possible that one party will be required to pay alimony and/or maintenance to the other.


Splitting cash often needs to be done in at least two steps. Firstly, each half of the splitting couple needs to make sure that they have enough cash for their immediate needs. Given that they will be going their separate ways, it usually makes sense for both individuals to have their own current accounts.

If this means that one or both of them has/have to open a new account, it's advisable to start this process as soon as possible. Persistent COVID19 restrictions mean that it could take longer than under normal working conditions.

Once each half of the couple has their own bank account in place, you will then need to work out how to manage your finances in the short term. Then you'll need to work out an appropriate division of cash before you finalize your split. What this will mean in practice will depend on the couple. The key point is that both parties need to be able to pay their bills while negotiations are ongoing.


For the sake of both partys credit records, debts need to continue to be paid in full and on time. If it's clear that a particular debt belongs legally and/or ethically to one half of the couple, it may make sense to have them pay it out of their sole bank account. Otherwise, both halves of the splitting couple need to work together to pay debts until a final settlement is reached.

If one party cannot, or will not, cooperate in paying debts that are (or at least may be) joint, it's advisable for the other party to make the full payment if at all possible. This may be frustrating but the contributions can be discussed as part of the final settlement.

Insurance policies

During a divorce, insurance may be one of the last things on your mind but it is important that you reappraise it. Insurance is only worth the money if it provides the cover you need. That may well change in a divorce situation. In particular, if you have protection policies, such as life insurance, these should definitely be reviewed as they will almost certainly need to be updated.

Property and assets

If there are children, then they will be kept in the family home if at all possible. This means that the person who gets primary responsibility for the children will typically be given the right to live in the house. This does not, however, mean that they will get full title to it. If the house is the couples main or only asset, they may only get the right to live in it while the couples children are minor.

It is, however, important to note that, even when there are children, the home can only be kept if it is financially viable for the parents to pay for it while keeping themselves and the children. If it's not, it will be required to be sold.


Splitting pensions is notoriously complicated. There are three main approaches to doing so. These are offsetting, sharing and earmarking. The first two are preferred as they make for a cleaner split. There are, however, often practical barriers to this approach. This means that earmarking often has to be used instead.

Author's Bio: 

Kerry Smith is the head of Family Law at K J Smith Solicitors; who are a specialist firm of family law solicitors in Basingstoke and the Thames Valley area.