Helping you with
your financial separation
Where to start Recent cases Contact us

I Do Not Know Where To Start!

Is This You?
Separated or about to be and don’t know what to do or where to turn? No pre nup or binding financial agreement and concerned where you stand? Do not want to involve lawyers yet and want some advice that’s cost effective without judgement? Or lawyers are involved and feel like you’re getting nowhere and wasting money!

What Should You Be Thinking About?
When you get separated or divorced, you are taking the income you used to make one household work and spreading it across two.  Not only do you have to worry about making sure you understand your household’s current financial position, you also have to be prepared for budgeting during your separation/divorce and how you are going to live life after your separation/divorce.

Gather Documents Now!
The most critical document you’ll prepare during your separation/divorce is to establish a pool.  This will be the legal foundation for your settlement and layout what you are entitled to.  Before you start the separation or separation/divorce process it is more critical than ever to make sure you have an in-depth picture of your financial situation.  Making sure you understand what assets, liabilities and financial accounts you have created with your partner will help you.  Remember, your advisers in this process can only be as good as the information you supply them with.

What Financial Documents Are Important?
Most people will begin with their bank accounts and big assets (house, car, etc.)  but overlook some essential pieces of their financial picture.  You need to not only be concerned with the assets but also your liabilities, such as car payments, home loans, credit cards and both your superannuation accounts.  Remember, you aren’t just making sure you get what you are entitled to; a separation/divorce financial planner is going to make sure you think about the big picture and how you manage your finances during each phase.  

All of this may seem daunting but if you allow us, experienced financial planners to guide you through your separation/divorce, you may find it a little bit easier.

OK – It Is Time To Answer Some Questions!

If you don’t know the answers to questions like these, you should not and will not be able to move ahead with any separation/divorce plans until you do.

  • What can I do now to protect my financial security after the separation/divorce?
  • How do I know my partner is fully disclosing all assets so I’m getting my fair share?
  • Who should be part of my separation/divorce team – and why are they essential for my protection?
  • We can no longer live together but I am not in the marital house and the other party is. What does that mean?
  • Can I still continue to receive my separation/divorce settlement payments should my former partner suddenly become ill, disabled or die?
  • I have been a victim of abuse in the relationship and separation.  We have kids and I do not know what to do?
  • How do I determine whether I can still afford to stay in the house and meet my mortgage payments? And what do I do if I can’t?
  • I do not know if the house is in my name so should I pay the mortgage?  I cannot afford it and my ex partner is not living here now!
  • We were gifted money from my family and there is no paperwork, what does that mean?  Will my family get their money back?
  • What should I be doing to protect my assets now so I don’t pay the price in the years to come?
  • Am I responsible for my former partner’s debts if they should default on payments?  Is there a way to safeguard myself against this in the future?
  • Am I entitled to my partner’s superannuation even if I haven’t worked outside the home? What can I do to ensure my long-term security?
  • How can I make the settlement process as painless and effective as possible in the shortest amount of time?
  • I have received an offer and now I need financial advice for my future - can you help?

Whilst many of these questions are addressed by lawyers, by engaging us, experienced financial advisers it could create less conflict and be less intimidating during the separation.

Where To From Here?

What Are Your Rights
It is very common to find that one member of the household pays all the bills, does the taxes, etc.  But now that you are in the midst of a separation/divorce you may find it harder to get this information from your partner.  No matter where you are currently in your separation/divorce, now is the time to solidify your financial foundation.  Avoid having to turn to a forensic accountant to unearth accounts and don’t get caught in the trap of letting your partner control the information once your separation/divorce is finalized.

Plan For The Future And Set Your Goals
Do you know how you’ll fill in the financial gaps of your post separation/divorce life?  If you have not taken the time to think about it, now is the time.  Figure out what extra expenses you may incur to help you provide for your new household.  Will you be going back to university or require any career training?  What about saving for education for children?  Questions like these need to be answered and a separation/divorce financial planner can be your guide to make sure you don’t miss anything or stress yourself out thinking about too much.

Get Your Separation/Divorce Settlement Analysed
There are a lot of tasks that a lawyer has to handle regarding your separation/divorce. It is not just about child support or spousal maintenance; you need to review the tax implications of retirement and investment plan distributions.  You’ll also want to make sure you get an idea of what your long-term financial picture looks like.  Plus, a separation/divorce financial planner can help you analyze your settlement and identify any weaknesses in it so that you can offer a counter-proposal and make a better, more informed decision.  

Who We Are

Scott Haywood  & Leah Ioannou
BBus, Dip FP, CFP®                          

Our goal for you is simple:  Save You Time, Save You Stress and Save You Money!

We are not lawyers, we have over 25 years combined experience in financial planning at HFM & Partners and as our business has evolved we have seen a gap in advice for couples who separate.  We a non–judgemental and very approachable as every individual case is different.

In our first meeting we endeavour to collect as much information as we can and our first ½ hour is at our expense (no charge to you).  After that our rates are $440 per hour for Scott and $220 per hour for Leah. We will provide you with a written quote as to what we think this may cost - both with or without lawyers and will be as accessible as we can.

We have had success seeing individuals, we have even mediated for separated couples on financial issues and we are interested in quick resolutions.

Remember the first ½ hour is at no charge and in that time we will try and give you a guide as to a likely outcome, explain the importance of establishing the pool of assets and save you the heartache and grief of doing it alone.

Normally you would not associate financial advisers to assist with a separation which does make us different, but understanding your finances and having professionals help you can reduce your anxiety.

Recent Cases

We have testimonials from clients, who for privacy reasons wish to remain anonymous but are available upon request.

Couple - defacto for 13 months - prior to that together 2 years. Bought an apartment, off the plan and got the first home owners grant, he was from overseas and she was from Melbourne. They separated and he returned overseas to live. She did not know what to do or where she stand?  We gave her the advice a guide as to what could occur and the total time spent so far was 1 hour.

Result - our client bought her partner out of the house after we assisted with data for a fair and reasonable valuation, we assisted the client with a loan and she is now happy living in the property.  Total cost under $1000.

Couple - married - children 9 and 7 - both in private schools. The couple came and saw us together as they had heard we specialise in this field of work. We went through everything from custody of the children, to a fair and reasonable asset split. We then referred them to a lawyer to get a binding financial agreement which was all they needed lawyers for. This case took 8 months and cost less than $10,000.

Result - The ex wife bought the ex husband out of the house, she did need some assistance from her family, and we assisted her with getting finance.  The ex husband, who was on a higher income pays for the school fees for the 2 children, he also got a cash settlement out of her superannuation and a small amount of equity out of the sale of the family home to his ex wife.  He rented, and then later on bought a home, the custody was not 50/50 but certainly fair with the children being the most important thing for the parents.  Both parties agreed to do whatever it took to keep the family home which was bought by the ex-wife and the kids had stability in a difficult time.

Couple - married 1 year - together 6 years - no children. One party bought a house 7 years ago, paid for the wedding and the honeymoon, the other partner ran her business from the house and her family did renovations and landscape gardening to the home. Marriage breaks down. The other party engaged a lawyer. Our party did not and came to see us.  We looked at what we thought was fair and reasonable as her lawyers contacted our client. 

Result - The other parties initial offer was ridiculous so to be honest, we went back with something just as ridiculous!  Some middle ground was established however due to the low incomes both parties had, to get a settlement, and the capital growth the property had achieved,  the property did have to be sold.  Prior to auction we had formulated % of proceeds that would go to each party.  Whilst it is never ideal to sell property due to it's high cost this was the only result.  Both parties walked away feeling as though it was fair and reasonable.  Our client is now happy renting and relieved that the costs were more than 3/4 less than the other party.  Total costs under $4000.

Contact Us

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The Loft
229 Lennox Street
Richmond, Vic, 3121

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The Finance Guru Pty Ltd A.C.N 140 844 668 has ASIC Australian Credit Licence No.389797 and has Professional Membership with Financial Ombudsman Services. Click here for a copy of the Credit Guide. Based on the reasonable inquiries about the consumer and any other relevant information available, a preliminary assessment must be made Click here for the Preliminary Assessment Form.

Scott Haywood is a financial adviser and director of WJ Haywood & Associates Pty Ltd ABN 11 005 304 861 Authorised Representative of GWM Adviser Services Ltd ABN 96 002 071 749 trading as Haywood Financial Management & Partners Pty Ltd . Australian Financial Services Licensee 105-153 Miller Street, North Sydney NSW 2060. Click here for the Financial Services Guide.