The real cost of divorce

Recent years have seen a rise in divorce rate for older Australian couples aged 50 years and above. It is unclear why this is happening. However, in some instances, the more assets a couple has accumulated over the years the more complex the situation can become.

Everyone who’s ever been divorced will tell you a divorce will set you back financially. When you get a divorce, all your property and assets will become part of the matrimonial pool. This is known as a property Settlement

Property includes savings, superannuation, motor vehicles, furniture, real estate, shares, personal effects and jewellery. It also includes heirlooms and artwork and things of this nature, if they are of value. In addition, divorce can be emotionally taxing as well.

Why are couples everywhere getting divorced? Perhaps it’s because of the relative ease of initiating it. We have our courts offering free divorce kits. They can be easy for parties to do themselves and in some instances, you don’t even need the assistance of a solicitor.

The divorce itself is relatively straightforward and inexpensive. However court proceedings for settlement of property disputes or to resolve parenting issues can become very expensive.

Property Proceedings – The real cost of divorce

If you can’t seem to be able to agree on how to split your assets, quite often, you can still avoid going to Court. There are other better ways to resolve this issue. Court proceedings are likely to be time-consuming, and expensive and the emotional toll can be considerable. If going to court cannot be avoided, you can keep litigation costs at a minimum by avoiding long, drawn-out court battles.

When the parties allow pride and hostility to get the better of them, they are likely going to get caught in unnecessarily lengthy litigation, swallowing up their funds in the process. If you are going through a divorce and want to minimise costs, the only time you should consider going to court is when you and the other party still haven’t reached an agreement despite having exhausted all out-of-court remedies.

A third party mediator can be a useful option, to help facilitate the resolution of the problem. Asking your solicitor about a round table conference is another option. Liaising with your former partner via legal representatives can help to take the emotion out of the dispute.


Determine your assets

It will be necessary to identify and determine the value of each asset in the matrimonial pool. Have a detailed record of what assets belong to which partner and which of those are owned collectively by you and the other party as a couple. All of the assets of the relationship will go into the property pool, regardless of who owned them and when they were brought into the relationship. The more you can agree, at least, on the assets and liabilities of the relationship, and their value, the closer you are to reaching an agreement about their division.


Life after divorce

It may not be easy but you can rebuild your finances after divorce. Some individuals may find that after divorce, bankruptcy is the only way. The key to surviving this tumultuous and painful event of your life is to go back to basics and try to live within your means.

During these times, debt management is of paramount importance. Restructure your existing or current debts and work toward re-establishing your credit. By improving your credit score, you open the door for more credit opportunities and less burdensome interest rates.


Prevention is better than cure

The moment you perceive that your marriage is irretrievably broken and that divorce is imminent, get good legal advice from a solicitor experienced in family law. During divorce, your solicitor’s advice is likely to have a great impact on the settlement’s outcome and your financial future. It is also wise to seek the assistance of a financial planner. Do these things before the property settlement so you have some idea about what is realistically achievable for you in terms of an outcome.


Guest Expert: rachel stubbs-logo

Rachel Stubbs and Associates is a specialised Law firm located in Wollongong.
Rachel Stubbs and Associates act in Family Law matters involving; property settlements, divorce applications, children’s matters, for both de facto and married couples

This article remains the property of Rachel Stubbs and Associates and can only provide basic information only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. This information can not be relied on as a substitute of legal information and it is only general by nature. This information was generally correct at the time of writing but changes in legislation or procedure may change the accuracy of this article. Should you require any specific legal advice in relation to your situation please contact Rachel Stubbs and Associates for specialist Family Law advice at or phone on +61242298805. You can email us on [email protected].