Divorce can be a messy and emotional experience. If children are involved, the whole process can be extremely painful for all parties. You will need to protect your finances, and if you are in any doubt about how to do this, you should seek legal advice.
Inform credit agencies and mortgage providers of the situation
If you own any joint credit cards, or your bank account is held together with your partner, you should inform these agencies of your situation. This will stop your ex-partner making large withdrawals without your consent. Tell your mortgage provider about the divorce. Also, you should check the Land Registry deeds to secure your ownership of the family home. If your name isn’t on the deeds, you can apply for a ‘matrimonial home rights notice,’ that will secure your interest in the house. Divorce is difficult but if you protect yourself financially, at least you won’t go bankrupt at an emotionally fraught time.
Short term finances v long term future
Once you and your spouse have decided to divorce and you share any property, or one party supported the other to pay bills etc, you should see if you can come to an agreement to keep a roof over your head, until the terms of the final divorce settlement have been decided. If you can’t agree, then go to the court and apply for an interim maintenance order. You’ll need to show the state of your current income, any capital you may have, all your debts, and highlight your daily short-term financial requirements.
In some divorces even the most straightforward issues can evolve into a potential battleground. If you have married a foreign national, or hold assets overseas you should seek the advice of a notary; Vanner Perez Notaries, for example, will be able to help you with document translation and statutory declarations. It’s important that you don’t lose any potential assets simply because you don’t understand the legal processes of another country.
Be open and honest
Judges frown on anyone who is perceived to be attempting to hide their assets during a divorce. A feature on the BBC website revealed that ‘a quarter of divorcees questioned …had tried to hide financial assets to keep them secure.’ If you are one of the 40% couples in the UK who finds that their marriage ends in divorce, you could find that you end up with a prison sentence if the courts find you guilty of concealing your assets. Divorce often does lead to a reduction in living standards but you don’t want to face a jail sentence as a result of your greed.
Consent orders will clarify the situation
If you want your divorce to proceed as smoothly as possible HM government suggests that you apply for a consent order. This is a legally binding document that will help you divide your assets; the order will take money, savings, property and investments into account. The idea behind this document is to stop your partner going back to the courts and making a financial claim against you in the future. Both parties should sign this document.