Skip to main content
Life Planning

Marriage & Divorce


Kim Potgieter

Kim Potgieter

August 17, 2021
All things being fair and equal

Covid changed many things in our lives – some of them unexpected. Over the past four weeks, I have witnessed another sad result of this crushing virus. Fractured relationships, break-ups and divorce. It has been wonderful to see some relationships flourish and grow stronger. Sadly, the cracks in other relationships became crevices and eventually craters, leaving several couples opting for separation or divorce.

Divorce is never a decision taken lightly, and after everything we’ve been through this year, I believe that when couples opt for divorce, the decision was made with the conviction that it is in the best interest of both parties. Sometimes divorce is the only alternative for each partner to live their best lives – and that’s ok.

What is not ok is when the marriage is not equal, and the divorce settlement is not fair. Unfortunately, I often meet women clients going through a divorce who have abdicated the financial responsibility during the marriage. They were not involved at all and depended on their husbands to manage their money.


  • Over 25 000 couples divorce each year in South Africa.
  • 80% of women will manage their own finances in their lifetime (because they’re single, divorced or widowed)
  • A woman’s standard of living drops by 27% after the first year of divorce – while that of men rise by 10%

Both partners should be actively involved in the financial affairs of the marriage. I have been advocating this for many years. To avoid being accountable or expect your partner to be solely responsible is just not fair – even if one partner has a stronger leaning towards all things finance. Women are all too often left in the dark and have no clear picture of the financial plan, overall assets or strategy that they as a couple are using for their investments to grow.

Here are three things you absolutely need to know in a marriage or partnership:

  • what your partner earns, and vice versa
  • what investments you have together
  • the monthly budget and spending plan
  • And last, having a financial planner that you both like and get along with.

The latter may seem like an obvious point, but you won’t believe how many women I meet who immediately change planners after the divorce. Why? They never liked them to begin with!

I always recommend working with a mediator through the divorce process. We often make our worst decisions when we are emotional, and this is one of those times. You do want the settlement to be fair, but fairness is a word that is so often seen from one perspective only. It is just as important to work with a financial planner who will be able to work out what the fairest distribution of assets will be. A good planner will be able to provide both parties with an updated financial plan outlining their individual commitments and cash flow needs post-divorce too.

For both your sakes, make sure that you (and your partner) are engaged in the financial landscape of your marriage. Knowledge is a gift. And making sure that each partner is empowered financially is one of the biggest gifts you can give each other.

Always remember, when it comes to your money, be inspired, be brave and be on purpose,


You might also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *