Client story: a good divorce is possible

11th March 2024

A St. James's Place client explains how she discovered the benefits of a financial adviser’s support when starting again after splitting from her husband.

My ex-husband and I had a very amicable divorce, but I wish I’d known that a 'good' divorce in financial terms is possible, too.

I discovered there's a whole spectrum of money decisions to make on your own when you separate. And it would have been better if I’d talked to a financial expert to help with those decisions much sooner.

People tell you to find a lawyer for legal advice, but I wish someone had told me to see a financial adviser and speak to a mortgage broker just as early in the process. It would have been very helpful for me to know what my financial situation would be in different scenarios, at the time and in the future, and to be better informed about the process of separating my finances from my ex's.

He and I agreed he would stay in the family home, while I was keen to explore new living arrangements. This meant our children could stay in the family home too, some of the time; we are raising our kids together and alternately look after them for a week at a time.

Finding the right person to support you is key

I only wanted to get what I thought was fair and had invested in the marriage. That included my pension and a buy-to-let property. Luckily, a friend who was also getting divorced recommended a Partner at St. James’s Place who specialises in divorce.

She helped me to review my pension and map out my income and assets so that when I met with my lawyer, I could make informed decisions about the divorce settlement. It also helped me to get visibility about the size of mortgage I would be able to afford on my own.

It was so empowering to talk about my finances and take ownership of my financial life, which I used to let my ex manage. With my divorce-settlement money, I initially had an urge to invest in a property similar to our old family home. But I realised I didn’t need to match what my ex has, in terms of living arrangements: kids are extremely resilient; I wish I’d known that earlier, too.

Feeling the benefits

My original property purchase fell through, and I’m glad it did. It enabled me to have a rethink. I decided to rent a three-bed flat in London using my buy-to-let income, and I used my divorce settlement to make a fresh start: I bought a little cottage in a market town near London, where I live every other week when I don’t have the kids with me.

It’s a beautiful property and it’s mine. I have a much smaller, more affordable mortgage than I would have done if I’d bought a bigger home near my ex, and my bills are smaller too. I had no idea how liberating it would be to downsize.

If I’d known how important it would be to get specialist financial advice and have someone I could rely on to support me and guide me through the process, I’d have sought help right at the start. It’s a big part of getting divorced. I only wish I’d realised that sooner.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Client story: a good divorce is possible
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