Navigating Your Separation: Essential Financial Information and Documents You Need to Move Forward with Confidence

March 17, 2023

When going through a separation or divorce, understanding your financial situation is critical. This knowledge can empower decision-making and help you move forward with confidence. Knowing your financial situation allows you to make informed decisions about issues like property division, spousal maintenance, and child support.

Without a full understanding of the financial situation of you and your Ex, you may not be able to make decisions that protect your interests or achieve your desired outcome.

If you are newly separated and seeking legal advice, your family lawyer will need to understand your financial situation to provide you with the best possible advice on your range of outcomes and to discuss your goals, needs and options. You will also want to understand the financial situation so you can make informed decisions about your future.

Here is a list of some of the financial information and documents that you should identify and start gathering so you can get ready to move forward with confidence:

Asset Information:

When a relationship ends, all of the assets, liabilities and financial resources held in each party’s own name and jointly together or with any other person will form part of the property pool available for division between them. Therefore, it is essential to identify and value all assets, liabilities, and financial resources before being able to engage in negotiations about a settlement.

You should gather information on bank accounts, real properties, investments, motor vehicles, superannuation, business or trust interests, and any other assets. Additionally, you should provide details of any outstanding liabilities, such as mortgages, car loans, credit cards, tax liabilities, and personal loans.

Income Information:

Yours and your Ex’s income is a significant factor in determining the division of property, spousal maintenance and child support obligations. Therefore, it is essential to provide your family lawyer with complete income information, including yours and your Ex’s salary, bonuses, commissions, and any other sources of income such as investments, business interests or family trusts.

You can find this information by looking at yours and your Ex’s income tax returns, payslips, and other relevant documents such as, dividend statements, and the tax returns and financial statements for businesses and trusts.

Expense Information:

To assist with identifying the extent of your financial needs and what level of financial support you or your children may need, it is a good idea to put together a budget. Your budget should list out yours and your children’s expenses, including your mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, motor vehicle and travel costs, school costs, child-related expenses, living expenses, and any other recurring expenses.

It is essential to be as detailed as possible when putting together a budget of your expenses, as this information will be vital to understanding your financial needs and determining your eligibility for spousal maintenance and child support.

Business Information:

If you or your Ex own a business, you will need to provide your family lawyer with details of the business, including the name, details of the type of business, its assets and liabilities, its income, and the financial records.

If you and your Ex are both working in or receiving an income from the business, then there may need to be some practical considerations about how to untangle one of you from the business as part of the settlement and what will happen until you have a settlement.

Seek financial advice:

If you are still unsure about your financial situation or need guidance, consider seeking professional advice from a financial advisor and/or accountant. A financial advisor, or accountant can help you understand your financial situation, your financial needs, any issues that may be relevant to the negotiations, and develop a plan that helps you to financially rebuild and move forward.

As you get clearer on the financial situation, your financial needs, you can start to think about what you want to achieve as part of your settlement.

  • Where do you want to live?
  • What income will you be earning?
  • What lifestyle do you want for yourself and your children?
  • What do you need to financially rebuild the life you want?

Asking yourself these questions can help you to identify the goals and objectives you want to achieve through the legal process. Your goals could include:

  • upskilling your financial knowledge or skills;
  • negotiating a private child support arrangement;
  • starting work or increasing your income;
  • implementing a budget that supports the lifestyle you want;
  • securing funds to buy a new property; or
  • trying to retain the family home as part of your settlement.

Setting yourself financial goals can help you to focus your energy and resources on developing a plan with your family lawyer. Not just any plan…but a strategic plan that helps you to financially rebuild so you can create a stronger and more secure future for yourself and your family.

What could be a more powerful and empowering way to move forward with confidence than educating yourself about your financial situation, your options and taking intentional steps to build the brighter future you’re envisioning?

We encourage you to embrace the opportunity to seek legal and financial advice so you’re ready to mindfully step into the next chapter in your life and all the amazing things that are coming your way!

Our expert team of family lawyers would love to help you to recover, rebuild, and move forward. Book your free clarity call today or download our free Financial Documents Checklist to learn more about your financial situation.


This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or any other professional advice.

Feeling unsure where to start?

Let us guide you through what’s involved in untangling your relationship and give you the tools to set yourself up to move forward.

Feeling unsure where to start?

Let us guide you through what’s involved in untangling your relationship and give you the tools to set yourself up to move forward.

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