Protecting assets on divorce
One of the biggest worries for couples who are thinking about divorce is the unknown future which lies before them. They want to be free of the marriage but will also want to make sure they can live independently after divorce. It is very important to divide and share assets in a divorce fairly and reasonably. This includes savings, pensions, houses, debts and inheritances. Whilst protecting assets on divorce may be tempting, generally any attempts to transfer, hide or dispose of money and assets before or during divorce proceedings is likely to result in penalties being issued by the Court.
If a spouse is considering transferring money before beginning divorce proceedings it is important for that person to look closely at what money is being transferred and whether this might be perceived later as them trying to ‘hide’ assets from the financial considerations. If money is being transferred between spouses by agreement in anticipation of the divorce, it is vital this is done as part of the overall agreed settlement and that this is recorded suitably. Before any money is transferred the person looking to transfer funds should seek legal advice first.
Some spouses are keen to protect their pensions especially if they have been paying into a pension scheme for a substantial number of years before the marriage took place. It can be possible to exclude pre-marital contributions in the financial negotiations but advice would need to be sought from a Pensions on Divorce Expert (PODE). He or she can consider the value of all the pension schemes against those of the other spouse and look to see how the pensions can be fairly divided either under a pension sharing order or by offsetting against marital capital.
Many spouses also worry about whether their soon to be ex is going to try and hide money or assets in order to claim they have a greater need than what the known reality is. Whilst many try this tact, few succeed. Divorce and financial remedy cases require full and frank financial disclosure and when this is not provided it is obvious. In the 21st century world of computers and the internet, there’s a trace of everything. The courts also have powers to take into account people’s actions and responses in providing full and frank financial disclosure and issue financial penalties if necessary.
It is important that strong and sensible legal advice is sought from the outset and at Barker Gotelee our experienced family solicitors are on hand to provide such advice and support. Call 01473 617 317 for details of our no obligation consultation.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich.