Can I spend any of the money now we are separated?

After every separation there is a time of “financial no-man’s land” where you are not sure how you should manage spending. Many couples have one joint account from which they both use for all spending. Can you still go out and buy a new work dress or do you have to now ask permission? Or should you go out and get that Chloe bag you always dreamed of (mine is pictured!)? What about basics like groceries? What do you do while you wait for a property settlement to be finalised?


The answer is never a clear cut one. One of the steps in the process of separating your finances and property is to work out the total amount of all the assets of you and your partner. You may think then if the cash is not in the account, it can’t be divided so I should pop down to Tiffany now! But before you make him pay for the emotional turmoil with some retail therapy, think again. 


In recent years, the Court has found that where there has been a ‘significant disparity’ in the spending of each partner after separation, then this may result in a monetary adjustment against the ‘big spender’. So a good rule of thumb is if you are spending money on things that would be considered ordinary living expenses that you would have purchased throughout the relationship, then that is generally fine. Otherwise, wait until after your property settlement, save up and then go spoil yourself! 

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