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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Ring fence and protect assets on divorce

Ring Fence and Protect Assets On Divorce
Ring Fence and Protect Assets On Divorce

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 lawyerIn 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
  • inheritances
  • businesses

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

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