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Separating on a single income – the effects

Family Law

Making the decision to separate can be extremely stressful. There are so many things to consider, what will happen to my children? Will I need to find work?  Will I need to move out of the matrimonial home? Will I need to pay spousal support? How much child support will I need to pay? Can I afford to buy another property?

The pivotal question for many and especially those living on a single income is ‘can I afford to separate?’

It doesn’t need to be the War of the Roses.  For the stay at home parent who has been out of the workforce for many years caring for the children, it is generally accepted you will receive a higher distribution of property on separation, though this is not a hard and fast rule. If you now have a diminished earning capacity due to your role as homemaker, and need to re-skill in order to find work, you may even expect to receive some spouse maintenance from your ex-partner to do so. The reality however is that for most stay at home parents, separation means a step away from the home and a step back into paid employment.

For income earners, a lower percentage of the assets distributed and the added cost of potential spouse maintenance and child support may just leave you wondering whether separation was really such a good idea. Whilst generally speaking you won’t need to continue financially supporting your ex-partner until their retirement, you most certainly will be required to pay child support if you’re not the primary carer. If your partner requires re-skilling before re-entering the workforce and this hasn’t been taken into account in the property settlement, you may even need to pay spouse maintenance until they have re-skilled.

It can be difficult to properly assess the reality of the financial situation you may find yourself in. We are very experienced in working out a realistic estimate of the cost you will incur and the likely outcome. There are ways to mitigate the financial pain of separation.

If you find yourself asking any of the questions in this article, we recommend consulting one of our skilled family lawyers for advice. We can help you face your future with confidence.