Divorce or separation is a difficult and stressful time which can have a huge financial impact on one or both parties. We can help you understand your current financial position and how to take control of your financial future. Here are some things you may wish to consider.

Financial Landscape


It is important to understand your income requirements and whether sources of income (e.g., salary, pension, rental income, savings, and investments) are likely to be impacted. Settling into single life includes budgeting for it. Write down your financial obligations, including mortgage or rent, utility bills, credit card and loan repayments, insurance policies, and tax records. We can help you map out a financial plan, look at immediate objectives, and how your needs might change.

New sole account

Establish your own financial identity by opening an account in your name only. You can pay for everyday expenses and change salary payments or income to this new account while separating your joint finances.


Understanding the value of assets is important - whether it is cash, stocks and shares, property, pensions, or protection policies, it is key to have a clear picture of the current position. List all assets and debts in your sole or joint names, including bank account balances, investments, and retirement accounts. Calculating your net worth ahead of time will help with the division of any jointly owned assets.

When negotiating a financial settlement, both non-business and business assets are considered. For family business assets there are considerations of ongoing income or profits, company valuation, voting rights, and the possible need to restructure the business or shareholder agreement.

Tax position

It is beneficial to obtain tax and legal advice before transferring assets to ensure the correct tax planning strategies are in place to protect you.

Estate planning

As well as mapping out your financial position, post-divorce or separation you may wish to review your estate plan. This could be changes to your will, appointing a new executor or attorney, or changes to beneficiaries, retirement plans, life insurance policies, or savings accounts.

Joint accounts

  • When notified of a separation, your bank may freeze your joint account until they receive instructions from both parties as to how the account is to operate. This is to protect both of you and ensure money does not leave the account without joint consent.
  • If there are any debts on joint accounts, you must be aware that you have joint and several liability for any debts outstanding. Put simply, this means both parties are responsible for any debts on joint accounts.
  • To avoid bounced cheques and other fees, ask your bank about standing orders, Direct Debits such as mortgage or pension payments, or scheduled payments pending so an agreement can be made for how these will be settled.
  • If your separation is amicable, consider visiting the bank with your ex-partner to close your joint accounts in person. Doing so will ease the possibility of any misunderstanding about the accounts’ balances and where you will be moving the money to.
  • When visiting the bank, take photo-ID such as a driver’s license or passport, and proof of address such as a recent utility bill. You may be required to complete and sign paperwork to either transfer or release the funds.
  • If you open a new sole account, consider having a new relationship manager look after your affairs if your partners account remains at Arbuthnot Latham.
  • Be aware that closing accounts and opening a new one may affect your credit score in the short-term. New credit inquiries can trim a few points off your score. Periodically check your credit report to ensure your spouse has not incurred debts in your name since your divorce or separation. Then continue to monitor your credit report and score regularly.
  • If you do hold investments with Arbuthnot Latham, it may be advisable to speak with one of our wealth planners about pensions, offshore bonds, and investments.

Your relationship manager is on hand to support you and to help you with any questions you may have.

Help from other organisations

If you need to find a solicitor: solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk

Mediation and relationship counselling: relate.org.uk

Step-by-step help on the Government website: gov.uk/divorce and gov.uk/money-property-when-relationship-ends

Pension help: pensionwise.gov.uk/en/divorce

Managing your finances: Divorce and separation | MoneyHelper

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