Considering Divorce? Six Things You Need to Know

considering divorce

Considering divorce? Here are some quick pointers to set you off in the right direction.

1. Everyone will have an opinion

Yes, that’s your family and friends, your neighbours and your colleagues at work. Even your Facebook friends. This can be distracting if you’re trying to figure out what to do. Struggling to see the wood for the trees? Time to get advice from an experienced family lawyer.

2. Try not to make a drama out of the divorce petition

A divorce petition can simply be a means to an end. You want to get divorced? – filling out the paperwork is how to go about it. Only you, your ex and the Court are ever likely to see the divorce petition, so try if you can not to fall out about it. If possible, agree which one of you is going to issue it and agree what it’s going to say. See my blog, Grounds for Divorce, 5 Things you Need to Know.

There are so many other more important things to focus on right now.

However if there’s been domestic abuse, or you believe the children are at risk, please seek immediate advice from an experienced family lawyer.

3. Address the finances

You can’t just leave things hanging, not indefinitely, because you will both be moving on. Important decisions need to be made about the assets – who gets what – and about child maintenance. See my blogs How do you Split Assets in a Divorce and What are your Child Maintenance Options? 

The divorce and the finances can run in parallel, see my blog What Comes First, Divorce or SettlementIf you can agree it all between you, that’s great. But please get legal advice on your rights – a one off appointment won’t cost much. After all, this is the rest of your life.

You both need closure and certainty when it comes to the finances. This means a Court order. But this doesn’t mean you have to attend at the Court, or that it will cost you a fortune – it can be a simple process. See my blog How to get a Consent Order? A Simple Guide.

4. The lawyers don’t have to win

Try to talk to your ex even if it’s really hard. If you fall out you may have to put everything into the lawyers’ hands. Worst case scenario, it all ends up in Court. This could cost you a great deal. Try these alternative approaches:

5. Pension or family home?

If you’re thinking you want to stay in the family home, come what may, take a moment to think. A share of your ex’s pension might be more valuable to you, long term. In many years time when you retire, you might discover that your ex is sitting pretty with a huge pension. Whereas you’re scrabbling around with a tiny pension and a big house that needs lots of maintenance.

This might be an opportunity to plan for the future. Perhaps you can downsize, release some capital for your ex, and get a share of their pension in return? This may take a little extra effort but might be worth it in the long term. Speak to an experienced family lawyer.

6. Ring fencing assets, your inheritance, pension, business …

Can you ring fence your assets? It depends. See my blogs Ring Fence and Protect Assets on Divorce and How to Protect Inheritance on DivorceDo you have to throw your business into the melting pot? See my blog, How to Protect Business on Divorce.

Considering Divorce? Six Things You Need to Know

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on Considering Divorce? Six Things You Need to Know. In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family lawyers. We offer Pay as you go costs. We offer Collaborative law solutions tailored to your family’s needs.

The topics covered in this blog post Considering Divorce? Six Things You Need to Know are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.

image for Considering Divorce? Six Things You Need to Know A rayas by Juanedc on Wikimedia.

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How To Protect Inheritance On Divorce: is a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement the answer?

Protect Inheritance On DivorceSophie has contacted me for urgent advice. She wants to know how to protect inheritance on divorce. Her partner, Bob, has whisked her away to Rome for the weekend, gone down on one knee, and proposed. But she’s having cold feet because what happens if it doesn’t work out? She doesn’t want Bob to get his hands on the fortune she’s inherited from her family.

On marriage breakdown every asset is up for grabs. 
But it has to be a "matrimonial asset" unless there is a strong case based on need.
It is sometimes possible to protect inheritance on divorce.

Is An Inheritance A Matrimonial Asset?

It depends.

Often an inheritance is regarded as non matrimonial and so not up for grabs, particularly if it’s a short marriage. And timing is important. Was the inheritance received before or during the marriage, or as the couple separated? Even though Sophie inherited before getting married it could be bad news if she and Bob split up after a long marriage. It depends on what happens to the inheritance in the meantime. Will the couple mix it with their matrimonial assets? Will they keep it separate?

The more separate it’s kept the better, but still that’s no guarantee.

What About “Needs” When Assets Are Divided On Divorce?

The starting point for division of matrimonial assets is an equal split but certain circumstances are taken into consideration including:

  • The Children’s Welfare
  • Income and Earning Capacity
  • Financial Needs
  • Standard Of Living
  • Your Ages, And Length Of The Marriage
  • Physical Or Mental Disabilities
  • Contributions To The Marriage

What if an equal division doesn’t provide enough for a suitable home for one of the couple? They are likely to get a larger share of the assets. And if there aren’t enough matrimonial assets? Non matrimonial assets can be thrown into the melting pot to meet needs. This includes an inheritance.

The Millionaire Who Lived In A Three Bed Semi

A Court case in 2011 throws some light on how to protect your inheritance on divorce. It’s called K v L. We don’t know the couple’s names or where they lived as the Court agreed to protect their anonymity for the simple reason that they wanted their three children to lead normal lives.

This is the story of an extremely wealthy wife. 
Neither of the couple ever needed to work but despite the wife’s millions 
they lived modestly in a three bed semi worth £225,000. 
They ran an inexpensive car and no single item in their home was worth more than £500.

The wife had inherited shares in an Israeli company when she was fifteen. When the couple first cohabited in 1986 the shares were worth £300,000. When they married in 1991, £700,000. When they separated in 2007, £28m. By the time of the court hearing in 2011, £57m.

After twenty one years of marriage the wife left the husband in 2007 taking the children with her. She bought another modest property in the same London suburb, close to the husband who remained in the family home.

The husband told the court he wanted £2m to buy a house in central London, and £450k to buy a house in Israel. Also £60k to buy a new car. And maintenance. All in all he claimed £18m. But the court said the wife’s inheritance was a “non matrimonial asset” and on a generous assessment of his needs he would only get £5m. He was not otherwise entitled to share in her inheritance.

Will A Prenuptial Agreement Protect Inheritance on Divorce?

K v L was an unusual case and relied heavily on the modest lifestyle of the couple. I told Sophie not to worry. She could take steps to protect her inheritance on divorce with a prenuptial or post nuptial agreement. She liked the idea and said she would talk it over with Bob. I have written an earlier blog on the topic of agreements.

How To Protect Inheritance On Divorce

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice about how to protect your inheritance on divorce. In this 20 minute session we will review your 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  A Baby Wild Boar by Sander van der Wel on Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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