It is always difficult when a relationship ends, and for many of us it will not be a time where we wish to be thinking about our finances. However, no matter how difficult is may be, it's important to uncouple your finances from your ex-partner as swiftly and efficiently as possible in order to avoid difficult situations in the future.
The faster you regain full financial autonomy, the faster you will be able to move forward with your life.
1. Think twice about opening a joint bank account
Head the whole thing off at the pass and don’t open a joint bank account in the first place. Of course this is a personal choice, but if you have any doubts about the relationship then take your time committing to a joint bank account, as it comes with joint liability.
If you do decide to open it go through all your rights and responsibilities with the bank very clearly and carefully. Find out more about the things you need to consider before opening a joint bank account here.
2. Get immediate advice from the bank when you do part ways
If you find yourself in a situation where your partner has cleared off without closing down joint responsibilities, and there is some bad blood between you, then contact bank as soon as possible to see what your options are.
Firstly, whoever shares that account with you is completely at liberty to clear out every penny that's in there, including going overdrawn and leaving you with the clean up duty.
Secondly, even if you split all the cash harmoniously, don’t just leave the account dormant because you’re too lazy to close it. You’re leaving yourself wide open to fraud.
3. Take care of joint credit cards/debt asap
Again, something you would hopefully do together before you broke up, but if you don’t then get legal advice asap. Leaving any type of joint debt unresolved is bad on so many levels.
Not only could they default on their repayments, thereby ruining your credit rating, but if you are talking about things like joint credit cards, then by leaving your account open they could also keep borrowing money on it faster than you can pay it back. Don’t get yourself stuck in the dangerous cycle of paying back someone else’s debt.
4. Do not ever take a loan out for someone in your name
By taking out a loan in your name, even if its on your partner's behalf, you are 100% liable for paying back every penny, including interest. Don't put yourself in a position where you can be left saddled with someone else's debt.
At the end of the day, it’s difficult enough trying to recover from a broken relationship. The last thing you want is to be constantly reminded of your ex-partner by being financially coupled to them for long after the fuzzy feelings have left. We're not saying don’t ever financially commit to someone, just that if things do start to go wrong, grab the situation by the horns and make sure you are safe and financially protected so that you can get on with the other difficult business of restarting your life.