Is it possible to ring fence and protect assets on divorce? The answer is, yes, sometimes. But this is a complex area: if you are at all unsure, please take advice from an expert family lawyer. In this blog I consider the following questions:
- matrimonial or a non matrimonial asset
- can I protect my inheritance
- can I ring fence my business
- shall I transfer my assets to someone else
- how are assets split on divorce
- what’s the best way to ring fence and protect assets on divorce?
Let’s start with an example …
I have a friend who’s a magician. Her husband wants a divorce and furthermore he wants half of everything, including her magic cabinet.
Is it a matrimonial or a non matrimonial asset?
Non matrimonial assets can sometimes be kept out of the pot for division. They can include:
- assets built up before the marriage
But if there aren’t enough matrimonial assets left to fulfil her husband’s needs – for example for housing – non matrimonial assets can be used to plug the gap.
Is it possible to ring fence and protect inheritances?
My friend is particularly fond of her magic cabinet as her grandfather left it to her in his will.
Timing is important. Was the inheritance received before or during the marriage, or as the couple separated? And what happened to the inheritance in the meantime. Did they mix it with their matrimonial assets? Did they keep it separate?
Can a business be ring fenced?
I advise my friend that her husband might make a claim over her business – if it has any value.
She laughs. She tells me her assets comprise trick cards and a white rabbit. As for income: she does it all for charity. My friend and her husband live off their wages from their respective jobs.
What if her business had valuable assets and an income? See my blog How to protect business on divorce.
How about transferring assets to someone else?
My friend has a savings account and some shares. She’s thinking of transferring them to her sister.
She risks the Court freezing her assets and imposing a costs order. If she hides her assets she could go to prison for contempt of court. Both she and her husband must give full and frank disclosure of their finances. See my blog Financial disclosure on divorce – 10 things you need to know.
How are assets split on divorce?
What will happen to their house, their savings and pensions?
I advise her the starting point for division is a fifty fifty split although there are special considerations. These include the care of children, the extent of the couple’s wages and their earning capacity. Also their standard of living during the marriage, and their ages. The length of the marriage is important, too. As is their health. Lastly what the couple put into the marriage financially, and their individual financial needs.
What’s the best way to ring fence and protect assets on divorce?
The good news is she has met someone new, a fellow magician. It’s early days, and she wants to get her divorce sorted out first, but who knows, this could be the real thing.
I advise her if they decide to tie the knot, she ought to think about a prenuptial agreement. She says she will certainly keep this idea up her billowy sleeve along with her magic cards and scarves.
Contact Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice on ring fencing and protecting your assets on divorce. In this 20 minute session we will review your matrimonial financial situation and how you can achieve your objectives.
JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website just-family-law.com The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.
image credit: Ungár Anikó bűvész by Fortepan/Urbán Tamás on Wikimedia Commons