partner planning for divorce?
Partner planning for divorce?
Advice for a partner who has had a long exit strategy ahead of a divorce
By Anthony Ball – Keebles LLP
It is not unusual for one person in a marriage to realise or conclude that the relationship has ended long before the other and, in some instances, use that period of time to plan and manage their finances accordingly. This inevitably places the other on the back foot when divorce proceedings are then issued but it should by no means be fatal to their financial claims.
There have been many cases where one person, anticipating divorce, has tried to divest themselves of assets to reflect a more modest net worth. As tempting as it may be a person cannot deliberately gift or transfer assets with the intent of minimising or defeating the other person’s claim. To do so could even amount to fraud.
Each person going through divorce has to provide full and frank disclosure of their income, assets and debts. The disclosure must be sufficiently comprehensive and supported with documentary proof. As long as it is reasonable and proportionate additional information and documents can be requested and directed to be given by the court to compete the financial picture.
Where there is a risk of assets being disposed of the court can grant injunctions freezing them whether those assets are in the UK or abroad. In certain circumstances and where assets may already have already been disposed of the court can set aside and reverse those transactions.
So what is the strategy where you feel you may be on the back foot to a spouse who has been planning a separation for some time?
• Firstly, make a list of what you know the two of you have. Do not however be tempted to go opening your spouses mail or internet accounts as there are strict rules about that.
• If circumstances permit, agree a simultaneous exchange of financial information. If at that stage you think information is missing then questions can be raised.
• If full and frank disclosure is not provided voluntarily or there is imminent risk of disposal of assets then applications can be made to the court either to freeze or set aside transactions. Before doing so however you should consult with a solicitor.
• Finally, whatever your circumstances seek advice from a specialist family lawyer. They are trained to uncover hidden assets and the strategies employed to distribute wealth that would otherwise frustrate or minimise financial claims.
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partner planning for divorce 02/10/2019