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Divorce and Your Finances: How to Preserve Your Position

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 14 May 2017 |
 
Money Divorce Asset Separation Partner

In times of economic hardship, as now, it is important that you ensure you are catered for financially. When money is tight, financial self-preservation kicks in and people become increasingly aware of how to save money, cut back on expenditure, and preserve the money you have. This kind of self-preservation kicks in even more strongly when you are going through a divorce.

Post-Nuptial Agreements

If you are still married, and have not yet decided to divorce, it is still possible to enter into a post-nuptial agreement. These are much like pre-nuptial agreements, which enable you to decide who gets what before you get married, but are legally binding documents that are entered into during your marriage and enforceable if you divorce.

This means that, in the event that you divorce, you and your partner already know exactly where you stand and you both end up with what you had agreed. With all agreements that are intended to be legally binding, you must be utterly honest about what you have and how much money you have got. If not, the court may not enforce it. If you are both honest, the agreement will be binding – even if the resulting effect is different to that which a court would have reached of its own volition.

Divorce

To protect your assets it is vital that you seek proper legal advice on the various ways of separating. Each couple’s situation is different and what is right for you may be different to other people you know. There are always pros and cons to deciding to sort everything out quickly, or deciding to wait for a while. For example, if you stay married you could get some benefit from your spouse’s pension for the period of time while you stay married. If you divorce you would automatically lose this entitlement. If you are the breadwinner, you may want a quick divorce to limit your liability to your former partner once you are no longer together.

Collaborative Divorces

One of the most stressful elements of divorce is when it becomes bitter, sniping and emotionally exhausting. One of the ways in which you may be able to preserve your wealth is to consider the collaborative approach to a divorce. This style of divorce has been going for many years across the Atlantic, and is often depicted in popular US TV sitcoms. With collaborative law, you sit across the table with your lawyer, your ex spouse, and your ex spouse’s lawyer and decide who gets what. This enables a non-aggressive, dignified way to end your marriage and decides what happens with your joint assets. It also helps you to focus on what is important to each of you as individuals, in a safe and non-confrontational environment, and saves on court and legal costs.

Although collaborative law is not for everyone, it can be a way of ensuring that you maintain some control over the separation as well as being able to have a better chance at maintaining contact with your friends, other members of the family and children. If you are considering divorce and are keen to ensure that you safeguard yourself financially as well as maintaining your sanity, you should always consider the collaborative approach before resorting to court.

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[Add a Comment]
lesley - Your Question:
I have been married since September 2015 and I'm in 60s and my husband in his 70s. I own the marital home solely in my name but moved into it January 2017 with my present husband. The house we moved from in January 2017 was also owned by me and had been jointly owned by my 1st husband and myself for 38 years till he died in 2011. We had been married for 45 years. My present husband did not pay for any household bills except food I did. He left marital home on 15th March 2017 and is now filing for divorce on unreasonable behaviour. How do I stand with my property as he has not made any contribution towards it as it was my 1st husband who paid mortgage till it was paid off in 2001 and when he died I took over paying household bills till the present day My present husband owns his own property which he is in process of getting back as it is rented. Due to take back possession at end of May 2017 so he can live in it himself.

Our Response:
It is unlikely, due to such a short marriage, that your husband would be entitled to anything from your asset(s) as it will be viewed as a pre-marital asset.
DivorceResource - 15-May-17 @ 11:57 AM
I have been married since September 2015 and I'm in 60s and my husband in his 70s. I own the marital home solely in my name but moved into it January 2017 with my present husband. The house we moved from in January 2017 was also owned by me and had been jointly owned by my 1st husband and myself for 38 years till he died in 2011. We had been married for 45 years. My present husband did not pay for any household bills except food I did. He left marital home on 15th March 2017 and is now filing for divorce on unreasonable behaviour. How do I stand with my property as he has not made any contribution towards it as it was my 1st husband who paid mortgage till it was paid off in 2001 and when he died I took over paying household bills till the present day My present husband owns his own property which he is in process of getting back as it is rented. Due to take back possession at end of May 2017 so he can live in it himself.
lesley - 14-May-17 @ 12:12 PM
@Foxy - I am very sorry to hear you are treated this way and in a day and age where women have equal rights, you sound like you are in a Victorian marriage, not a 21st century one. He does 'not' have the right to keep the finances away from you, you have as much right to be aware of them and to have control of them as he does. You are married to him and despite everything you say, you jointly own your estate and he has no right to make decisions on your behalf. First and foremost, you do contribute and you do not have to sell this house if you do not consent, so I would refuse if this is not what you want. You are on the page for divorce, so I suspect it is this that is going through your mind. Firstly, you may need to begin to stand up for yourself and your rights to half of this house and demand to see your joint finances and bank accounts etc, so that you can begin to make your own informed decisions. If he refuses to let you see the finances, may I suggest you see a solicitor to explain the situation and get some advice before you may any further moves. You may also wish to do some online research in order to be able to recognise your confidence issues and look at the definition of a controlling husband. The more you stand up to this man, the stronger and more empowered you will feel. I suggest you begin as soon as possible. Good luck.
DivorceResource - 17-Mar-15 @ 11:39 AM
Please can help me my husband has lost his job he has always controlled me in many ways such as not knowing anything about his finance he has been to building society for help and will not give any. My husband has decided that he needs to sell house came back from work it was on market I'm very upset. I worked 16 hours a week but gradually built that up to 24 he was in trouble with money so I worked 30 hours to help so he gets a little for that. He has never give me any money all our marriage I have 3 childrenin which one calls me names which my husband used to do.i ask him for details of what we owe and money side of things he says you do not need to know as I have always paid for everything and you have spunger off me all our marriage as I chose to stay at home with my children to bring them up. My younger son has been in trouble for 6years as my husband did not want him I had verbal abuse for 9 months whilst pregnantand he could only dish out money to them but no love. I'm now worried as he says we are selling and he wants to rent then possibly buy a property later. He did not want our son and after that I was pregnant again which I was pleased but lost something I could love. Later on I was pregnant again but had an abortion due to health reasons .the last baby he told me to get rid of but no I wanted it I said no to him and you put it there he relied but you can do something about it. I build up sone money on credit cards which he went mad about but all our marriage he never took me out nor the odd holiday in school holidays he was never around but one thing in the marriage was he provided us with the houses that all he says and now he says this is my house you pay nothing but I have bills which comes first I'm in a mess please give me some advice
Foxy - 14-Mar-15 @ 8:49 AM
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