Looking to the future
Where are you going to live?
People often want to stay put, but it may not be feasible. Finding out about something doesn’t commit you to it, but it does enable you to make an informed decision about what is going to be best for you.
If you rent your home:
- Look into the cost of renting somewhere else. Could you reduce your costs by moving to a smaller home, or moving to a cheaper area?
- It may be worth seeing if any council housing or housing association accommodation is available in your area. Some housing associations help particular groups, for example families with a low income or single women. Waiting lists are usually long so it often isn’t an immediate solution, but it could help to reduce your costs and give you a secure place to live in the long-term.
- If you have some savings (or will have after the divorce is completed) it may be worth exploring if one of the government’s Home ownership schemes would help you. You can read more about them on Gov.uk - see 'Links to other websites'.
If you own your home:
- Check how much is outstanding on your mortgage.
- Ask an estate agent to tell you how much your home might sell for if you put it on the market. Remember that you will need to take off the costs of the sale and the costs of you both moving to work out what you would be left with.
- Check out your local property market to work out how much another home would cost.
- Consider what is available to rent as well.
- Investigate the possibility of getting a new mortgage. How much would you be able to borrow by yourself and what would it cost you?
- Remember that purchasing any residential property over £125,000 will incur Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) which needs to be budgeted for.
Stretching your joint finances to cover the cost of two homes is going to be tricky. Both of you are likely to end up (at first) poorer than you were. If you are still at the stage where you are considering your options it will be helpful to think through the money side of things.
- Do you know how much you spend, and on what? Most people only have a hazy idea. Use our family budget sheet at the back of this guide to help you work out where it all goes. You may need to keep all your receipts for a few weeks to check what you are spending on all the little things that mount up.
- Council tax will be reduced by 25% if you are the sole adult in the household. You will need to contact your council tax office for the reduction.
- Check if you might be entitled to benefits or tax credits now you are a single person. Turn 2 Us have a very helpful benefits calculator on their website (see 'Links to other websites').
- Work out how much child maintenance you might be paid or be expected to pay using the calculator on the Child Maintenance options website (see 'Links to other websites').
- Work out where you could cut your costs. You might rearrange some of your debts, spend less on some things, or find extra ways of earning money.
- If your debts are a problem, see if you can get debt advice from your local advice agency, National Debtline or Step Change. Step change also have a useful online tool called Debt remedy. See 'Links to other websites'.
Your future career
“While I was going through my divorce I started to take lots of regular exercise, for the first time in my life – it made me feel much less stressed and helped me to sleep”. Esme
- Think what you will want to do in five years time. Do you need some new skills?
- Do you want to change your career path?
- What training or qualifications will you need?
If you need to plan for this, or budget for it, now is the time to do it. Your local Jobcentre plus adviser can tell you about what help is available for you to find new work and any financial help you could get with moving back into work. Gingerbread has useful factsheets about going back into work or further education.