News

Hazel Wright examines the financial dangers of separation without divorce in The Telegraph

  • June 12, 2017
  • By Hunters Law

While divorce will for most people trigger enormous emotional and financial stress, separating without the formality of divorce can also be financially disastrous.

This was highlighted in a recent case concerning a couple married for only three weeks and separated for almost 30 years afterwards. Litigation is ongoing.

Home rights

If one person moves out they are allowed to come back and are free to stay when they choose, said Hazel Wright, a partner and family mediator at Hunters Solicitors.

And the partner who stays in the house is not allowed to change the locks. “The only way to remove this right is through divorce or an injunction,” said Ms Wright.

Shared accounts, debts and assets

Ms Wright said: “It may be that the person who is staying in the home will want to keep up with the mortgage payments and the party who has moved out and has to pay rent will ask why they should.

“If the payments stop the house could be repossessed and both individuals will see their credit rating destroyed.”

After death

An individual has the right to claim against the estate of their spouse or civil partner even if separated and could demand a continuing income in addition to a “chunk of the capital”, said Ms Wright.

The danger here is that the estate cannot be finalised if the executor does not know how much income is required. This is a real risk in long term separations, according to Ms Wright.

In these cases, the other beneficiaries would need to “buy the partner off”. Instead of offering a continuing income, the spouse’s share might need to be capitalised.

Ms Wright said it was crucial to make a will. Those who have an estranged spouse should use it to explain why they do not want them to be a beneficiary.

A halfway house

Ms Wright suggested that a judicial separation, a more formal agreement made by the court, could be an option for couples wishing to split but not divorce, perhaps where it is financially beneficial to remain married.

She said it was “almost” a binding financial arrangement which would allow couples to divide assets and property, but no pension sharing can take place.

Ms Wright said: “It’s so important for couples who split up to sort out their relationship before moving on and starting their new life.”

Read the full article in The Telegraph and Yahoo! Finance.

 

Related News

Jan 28, 2022
Richard Kershaw discusses sharing carried interest in private equity divorces in Lawyer Monthly
Jan 20, 2022
Henry Hood interviewed by Citywealth
Jan 17, 2022
Family Mediation Week: Nicole Derham discusses qualifying as a family law mediator
Jan 17, 2022
Henry Hood discusses how divorce settlements can be influenced by personal asset management during a marriage in STEP Journal Plus
Dec 30, 2021
Henry Hood comments on the highest post-divorce financial settlement awarded by an English court in New Law Journal
Dec 21, 2021
Henry Hood and Eri Horrocks discuss the consequences of failing to make a payment under a court-ordered divorce settlement in EPrivateClient
Dec 15, 2021
Henry Hood and Anna Roiser examine privacy and transparency in financial proceedings on divorce
Dec 10, 2021
Henry Hood comments on Frederick Barclay faces a possible prison sentence after failing to pay a £50m divorce settlement in The Legal Diary
Dec 03, 2021
Philippa Kum discusses arrangements for children of separated parents over the Christmas holidays
Nov 26, 2021
Henry Hood examines the case of WX v HX [2021] EWHC 241 and divorce settlements in EPrivateClient

© Hunters Law LLP 2022 | Privacy NoticeLegal & Regulatory | Cookies Policy | Complaints Procedure.

Hunters Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (number 657218)