Christmas time is meant to be a jolly one - you break from work, get together with friends and family, and exchange gifts. However, these activities can also put a hefty strain on relationships.
From the financial strain of holidays and gifts to the emotional strain of dysfunctional family gatherings, is it any wonder that the post-Christmas period commonly sees family law inquiries rise by more than double?
The festive season can be the tipping point and if you're already on unsteady ground with an impending divorce on the cards, then there are a few considerations to think about.
Divorce isn't cheap
Divorces happen and they can be costly, it's not just the lawyers that need to be paid, a separation can result in a doubling of your living expenses.
If you move out, there will be additional rent and utility bills, will you need a new phone account? Internet Some of these may also incur additional setup costs.
Collate your financial documentation
These additional costs will need to be covered, but who is managing your financial affairs?
Do you have access to your joint online banking? Where is your spouse's superannuation held? Do you have copies of the deeds for family trusts or self-managed super funds?
If you don't even know where to start, here is a great checklist.
After a split happens, getting access to this information can become difficult. Before things take a bad turn, try and obtain as much information about the family's financial affairs. Copy it and keep it safe as you may need to refer to it later.
Prepare for the future
Life goes on after divorce, and if you haven't been earning an income during the relationship, the future can look bleak and a little scary.
First, it's important to understand how much you need to support the lifestyle you currently enjoy.
If you don't already have a budget, then now's the time to sit down and crunch the numbers. Take into account your new array of living expenses along with additional costs such as cleaning or child care if you will be returning to full-time work.
If you're over 50, it can be difficult to get back into the workforce, and there is less time until retirement for you to build wealth.
If you're still young, or at least young at heart, then earning again is possible. However, if you have historically let your partner control the finances, there will be a steep learning curve before you get back on your feet.
At this point, it can be beneficial to discuss your new position with a professional to ensure that you're setting yourself up correctly.
From investment strategies to tax implications, getting the right advice now will give you the best chance of living comfortably outside of your previous family group.
Now, let's try not to dwell too much on these thoughts and enjoy the upcoming festive period.
And if things are going awry in your relationship, at least you'll now be a little more informed on how this can affect your financial situation and the steps you can take to minimise it.
Olivia Maragna is the co-founder of Aspire Retire Financial Services and is a respected and independent financial expert. Olivia's advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions.