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  • Written by Leah Oliver, founder of Minnik Chartered Accountants



Divorce and finance - tips from Leah Oliver, Minnik Chartered Accountants
 


TIP 1

Make sure you are engaged with the best Lawyers and Accountants you can find, and ensure they are working together on your case.  Separation is all about money.  Some might say, no its about the children.  There is a parenting component, yes.  Sadly, it is the children in the middle of these events that are used as means to access more money by one or the other side.  When relationships break down, people can start to behave quite differently to the person that you once knew.  When you witness such behaviours, you can be absolutely certain that money is the key driver.  Even if they cover it up so well!  Most people when separating (if they don't try to "fix" things themselves and make matters a whole lot worse in the process), head straight for the Lawyers office.  Sure good plan.  But aren't we forgetting something?  Isn't this about money?  You need to have the right Accountant and trusted Advisor on your side.  Furthermore, your lawyer and accountant must deliver a fast turnaround. Another reason why having the lawyer and accountant mix is important is that the accountant ensures delivery of financial disclosure at speed so it minimises delays in the legal process.   
 
TIP 2

Your Accountants can assist you with all the financial preparation and disclosure required by Lawyers to represent you, and in most cases help shift proceedings in your favour.  How?  Simply by offering transparency.  As the saying goes "Numbers Don't Lie".  Correct!  Legal cases are based primarily on data.  Financial data.  Where parties to a legal case cover up the truth or tell lies to gain ground, along come the numbers and all their plans unravel.  The numbers expose lies by presenting the truth.  They are used as crucial evidence in court cases and can be the make or break of a settlement direction.  Know your numbers.
 
TIP 3

Texting!  Social Media!  Emails!   All these tools involve making comments "in writing".  Avoid putting anything emotional in writing when you are going through separation.  Whatever you write can be used against you by the other party to build their case.  Certain communications must be made in writing and are best done by your Lawyer to ensure that you are not making the situation worse for yourself.  The most subtle of behaviours can work against you in a legal setting, even if you think it is just a simple comment.  You can rely 100% on the numbers!  And leave the writing to your Legal team.
 
TIP 4

Use your utmost willpower to move your awareness to a calm and logical part of your mind - even though you're an emotional wreck!  The key after separation, even at a point of relationship "on the rocks" and spiralling towards the inevitable, is to mind shift your emotions aside.   We see too many people in this situation clouded by the emotion and negativity of it all, sometimes under manipulation from the other side.  As soon as possible after separating, you need to take care of the financial side of the situation.  Financial first.  The reason for this?  There are several.  High level, time is money.  The more time that passes after separation, the more your financial position is drained.  The more opportunity one party has to take advantage of the other party.  The more aggressive and defensive people become.  And your once healthy asset pool slowly dwindles into the realms of lawyers and barristers.
 
TIP 5

Attend counselling with a reputable psychologist or psychotherapist with experience in separation matters.  Attend alone.  If you are in a position whereby you are being manipulated by the other side, living in fear, being abused physically, mentally or financially, it is absolutely essential that you are being educated on recognising behaviours and manipulations as they happen.  We see many people so brainwashed by their ex partner that they are afraid to speak up and take action, to the point where they are unable to function.  This relates back to the above time.  Over time the other party gains and surges forward in these conditions, at the expense of the other person.  Your psychologist will help you to recognise red flag behaviours that are designed to weaken and disable you, holding you back from protecting not only your mental health, but your financial future.

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