Breaking up is hard to do, but even worse when you live under the same roof.
While plenty of unmarried couples who live together end up tying the knot or continuing on blissfully, more than a quarter break up within the first three years of living together, according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics.
And calling it quits with your roommate comes with a host of money troubles. According to a 2012 survey by Rent.com, some of the top concerns include dividing up your stuff, splitting the bills and financial responsibilities, and sorting out the lease.
So how do you protect yourself during an already emotional and potentially awkward transition?
We asked life coach Dr. Michele Callahan, who has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz, and other media, how couples should handle their joint finances when the relationship ends. She offered the following four tips for dealing with the financial fallout:
Determine who can afford to move. After sharing rent and household expenses, it becomes a challenge for people to save enough money to find an apartment they can afford on their own, in addition to moving expenses and a new security deposit.
Close joint bank accounts. If you and your partner have any joint accounts, now is the time to fairly divide the balance of those accounts and close them. If you have any automatic payments coming out of the accounts or any direct deposits going into it, you should cancel all of those automated processes before you close the account.
Refinance joint debt. If you have any joint credit cards or have been sharing one individual card, talk with your partner about determining who is responsible for which charges so that you can either pay off the balances or arrange to have your fair share of the outstanding debt transferred to your individual accounts.
Sell the items you can’t divide. One of you can agree to buy out the other person’s share of the item or make a reasonable exchange of items to balance things out. If you can’t come to an agreement, sell the item and split the proceeds. This may be necessary with a big-ticket item like a car if neither of you can afford the monthly cost on your own.
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