At Magenta, we always advocate financial independence for everyone. Even in happy marriages and partnerships, it makes sense for each party to have control and oversight of the family finances, just in case something goes wrong – death, disability, divorce etc.
However, we understand that in many cases one partner may be financially dependent on another for at least part of the time and this can certainly lead to difficulties if the relationship must come to an end.
There are many reasons why one partner is financially dependent on the other:
• They may have given up work to care for the children or elderly parents
• They may be unable to work due to illness
• One partner earns a high income, and it was agreed that the other did not have to work
Where the dependent partner has no ability to build up funds in their own name, this may leave them in a vulnerable position if the relationship ends.
We are not lawyers and therefore cannot advise on the legal aspects involved in a situation like this – every circumstance will likely have a different outcome whether mutually agreed or aggressively fought in a court of law.
However there are some financial aspects that should be considered in advance and our advice is as follows:
- Agree a money-sharing strategy while the relationship is new and good. For example, a stay-at-home Mum should have her own bank and savings accounts and her partner should pay money into this if she cannot earn her own money because she is looking after their children. This could include saving into a pension fund for financial independence in retirement.
- Both partners should fully understand the financial and insurance arrangements they have in place. Delegating financial management to one person might seem efficient (especially if the other partner has other aspects to deal with,) but if a relationship fails, the financially ignorant person can be at a big disadvantage if they are unaware of the details.
- Ensure that the big assets of a relationship – the house and other property, anything of value (antiques, paintings etc) that is purchased as a joint asset, are properly registered in joint names.
After a long marriage/relationship there are often more assets of a higher value to divide, but also, there are fewer years ahead to generate further assets or income. Consideration must be given to the security and happiness of each party which is why we always compile separate financial cashflow forecasts to alleviate some of the stress and worry associated with divorce.
If we can help a couple reach an amicable financial solution, where they are both able to be financially independent, especially in later life, they are likely to remain at least cordial and maybe even friendly.
Almost certainly for one party, this will be a confusing time. Often we meet (usually) women who have little experience of managing investments and insurance etc, having left all this to their husband/partner throughout their relationship. All of a sudden, they are thrust into the unknown world of financial planning and need our help to steady the new ship as they sail into unchartered waters on their hopefully, interesting and adventurous new life.
As we’ve discussed before, it’s essential that both parties secure both liquid and fixed assets during a divorce. Whilst a house may provide a much-needed dwelling, it should not be at the expense or trade-off for accessible assets such as cash, additional incomes (such as those from rentals etc.) or savings.
At Magenta, we’ve first-hand experience of divorce. We know how emotionally and physically draining it can be. That’s why we help our clients by offering a holistic service that really gets to know you as a person. We’ll help you through your divorce using our financial and personal knowledge- ensuring you make it through the other side financially secure and emotionally resilient. And you will make it through – trust us 🙂
If this sounds like you or someone you know, do share this and/or contact us for a friendly chat. It is very unlikely that we are unable to help, and we may be able to help open up a whole new world of opportunity and security.
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