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ending relationships and personal finance

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So far 2009 doesn’t look like it’s going to be a great year for relationships. One of my friends has split up with her partner, and another has indicated that he and his partner will probably go their separate ways sooner rather than later. Coincidentally, both are almost exactly the same age (to within a fortnight) and are in their early thirties, the time when most people seem to be either in the process of settling down or have already done so - usually, but not always, prompted by the idea of children.

As far as I’m concerned, couples splitting up is just one of those things that happen. People do not get along forever, nor does every couple make it until one of them dies. No blame or judgement should be attached, and friends are supposed to rally round and pick up the pieces rather than recriminate. Since I consider myself to be on the young side, previously this rallying round has solely consisted of providing relevant emotional support where possible, and generally helping them find their feet in single life.

splitting up in your thirties

The latest lot are a little different. Neither couple was married / civil partnered, but they lived together. In one case my friend moved rented out her house and moved to a village 30 miles away to live with her partner just under a year ago. Now that they have split up, she has moved temporarily in with her parents while she looks for a flat to rent (it would take at least 3 months to get her great tenants out of her house). This is costing her time, and effort, and she’s slightly annoyed by the truth that she has had to do a lot of upheaval, including packing up and moving 3 times, whilst her former partner has experienced relatively little hassle.

My other friend and his partner have been together for around 10 years, and lived together for most of that time. They own two houses, and have joint everything. They haven’t decided to separate, but if they do it will require some effort to untangle their finances, potentially involving selling one or two houses, legal costs to split the tenancies on the houses if necessary, new bank accounts, etc, etc.

divorce is probably harder

Naturally, if either couple were married / civil partnered the practical difficulties of separating would be compounded by the need to legally dissolve the partnership / marriage. Similarly, it is fairly lucky that in both couples each party earned very roughly similar amounts, and that there are no children involved. Still, much of the practical detail in splitting up, especially the initial bit, is probably the same, and dealing with hassle whilst you are miserable is not exactly going to improve your mood.

what do you think?

Since I’m single and I’ve never had the fortune / misfortune to live with someone as anything other than roommates, I’m not sure what’s involved. Does anyone have any tips, ideas or suggestions for amicably extricating your finances from a now defunct relationship?

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6 comments for “ending relationships and personal finance”

  1. MARRIAGE FIRST - then lifelong commitment. I know that divorce happens - but it should be a last resort and not something entered into lightly.

    Posted by Jeff Smith | January 29, 2009, 11:04 pm
  2. I find this intereting. Thank you for your time.

    Posted by fatakat | February 2, 2009, 3:43 pm
  3. The unilateral advice I’ve always heard is to keep your finances separate, whether in a low key relationship or a high class marriage. This way you are always in control of your own spending and expenses.

    Best advice is to make sure that when arelationship is established, both parties are committed. Saves a lot of hassle in the future.

    Posted by Spartan King | February 3, 2009, 5:13 am
  4. Life happens whether you are married or not.

    Posted by LAL | February 11, 2009, 4:32 am
  5. Official divorce is also harder because you have to tell the 100 odd people you invited to your wedding.

    From observing friends I’d say it’s seen as more of a ‘failure’.

    In contrast, anyone over 25 realizes that ending is what relationships do.

    The teenager-to-death romance has been near extinct since around the time ration books disappeared! ;)

    Posted by Monevator | September 20, 2009, 7:52 am
  6. You can never know how a relationship will end. Everything can be fine for many years and at a certain time one thing can happen and ruin everything. I personally consider relationships a risk, but a worthy risk. This is the beauty of life. You have to take risks and you can never know what the future is holding for you.

    Posted by john | October 4, 2010, 7:26 pm

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