Feeling ready to take some action

Are you feeling ready to take some action? Do you feel as though you don’t know where to start?

Lots of people feel that way. Take your time. There really is no rush. The best thing to do is to take small steps.

Sorting your financial paperwork

Begin by getting your financial paperwork organised. This will save you lots of time later, clear space in your house and help you to feel like you are making progress. If like me, you are a sucker for stationary, go and buy some new brightly coloured files. They will brighten the task up no end.


You may have bank, pension and investment statements going back years. I would suggest that you keep the last 6 months’ bank statements, as mortgage providers sometimes require them, and the latest one of any other statements.  Shred, rather than throw away, any others, for data security.

The same goes for utility bills. If you sell your house, whether part of your separation or not, it is good to be able to show prospective buyers what the bills cost but there is no need to keep any more than the most recent.

Do not destroy!

You may have investment or financial protection (e.g. life insurance) policy documents. These should be kept as they will be needed if you ever want to encash the investment or need to claim on the protection policy. You also need to keep any paper share certificates.

Current insurance documents shouldn’t be destroyed as you may need them. However, home or car insurance, for example, for previous years can be shredded.

Do not destroy your marriage certificate. It will need to be sent into the court. You don’t want to have to pay for a replacement because you shredded the original during a separation sort out.

Other things I have in my file are driving licences and passports. I do keep my old passports. Although I’m not sure if it is necessary, as the passport office send them back to me, I imagine they may be! I also have my childrens’ birth certificates, cats’ immunisation records and NHS cards.

What you might need for a mortgage

With regards to payslips, keep the last 6 months’ but not those older than that. You should always keep your P60s. I would also recommend keeping P11D statements. If you are self-employed or own your own business, keep your accounts.

Keep hold of child benefit or tax credits statements, if you have received these payments, as the statements might be needed in the future, particularly if your income fluctuates.

If you have a mortgage, you should keep your original mortgage offer and your latest mortgage statement. The same applies for any loans or other credit facilities, including credit cards.

Documents from my financial planner or adviser

If you have worked with a financial planner or adviser, you may have letters and reports from them. If they are valuations or statements, these are safe to get rid of. However, if they are reports making a recommendation to you for a financial produce, you should keep these. They will be a good point of reference if you ever have any questions about the product or the reasons that it was recommended to you.

Have you been left with any paperwork you are not sure what to do with? If in doubt, check before you shred anything as you don’t want to destroy a document that you later discover you need.

We have recently set up a Facebook group to provide information and support to those separating, divorcing or dissolving a civil partnership. We'd love you to join if you feel the support would be helpful. Please use the link to join. It's a private group so only the group members can see your comments and if you have blocked anyone but they are a member, they will still not be able to see your comments.

Latest insights and articles