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How to Fix Your Finances After Leaving an Abusive Relationship

How to Fix Your Finances After Leaving an Abusive Relationship

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Leaving an abusive relationship can be extremely difficult, both emotionally and financially. You may have been isolated from finances and had little control, or your partner may have damaged your credit score. Whatever your situation, it is possible to regain control over your finances. Here are some practical steps you can take.

Do a Budget Audit

The first step is to understand exactly where you stand financially. Make a list of all your income sources and all your outgoings. Be sure to include any debts or financial obligations you may have.

This budget audit will highlight areas where you may be able to make savings. For example, you may be paying for services or subscriptions you no longer use. Cancelling these can free up cash.

Also, look for any benefits or tax credits you may be eligible for as a single person. Citizens Advice can help identify benefits you could claim.

Manage Debts

If your partner acquired debts in your name, you are still responsible for repaying these. Make a list of all debts and repayment terms so you know what you owe.

If repayments are unaffordable, contact lenders to explain your situation and request reduced payments. Most will be understanding if you communicate proactively.

Non-priority debts like credit cards can be repaid more slowly. Focus on priority debts like rent, mortgage, council tax and utilities first. Seek debt advice if you are struggling – organisations like StepChange can help negotiate with lenders.

Check Your Credit File

After leaving an abusive relationship, it’s wise to check your credit file. Your partner may have damaged your credit score by taking out credit in your name.

You can get a free copy of your credit file from Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. This will reveal any unknown accounts or late payments so you can begin resolving them.

If your ex has ruined your credit score, it will recover over time as you demonstrate responsible financial behaviour in your own name. Using a “notice of disassociation” can also help if your partner committed fraud.

Protect Yourself Legally

If you had a joint bank account with your abusive ex, they may still be able to access funds and information. Open a new solo account with a different bank and redirect your income.

You may also want to consider a child protection order to prevent your ex from accessing money intended for your children. A solicitor can advise whether this is appropriate.

Rebuild Your Savings

After separation, it’s important to begin rebuilding savings as a safety net. Aim to build at least three months’ worth of living expenses.

Open your own savings account that your former partner cannot access. Set up a standing order to pay a small amount in each month. Over time, your savings will grow.

Look for little lifestyle tweaks that can help boost savings, like taking packed lunches to work or cancelling unused subscriptions. Small regular savings do add up.

Moving Forward

Fixing your finances after leaving an abusive relationship takes time, but it is possible. Being organised, seeking help where needed and taking back control will help you regain financial independence. With planning and patience, you can repair the damage done and build a stable financial future.

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