You decided enough is enough, and your marriage is beyond repair. You want it to be over and applied for a divorce.
Your emotions are probably heightened, and all you can think of is you want OUT! But what should you be thinking about with regards to your financial settlement?
However, once you agree on financial settlement through mediators, lawyers or courts whichever the way you choose– it is very difficult to change it going forward. And you may end up with very costly mistakes which would impact your financial future as well as your children’s if you have any.
So, before you rush and sign any papers – it is important to consider:
1) “Form E”, the comprehensive legal form to be completed during mediation or legal proceedings are on “declaration” basis.
In this form, both parties declare their assets, liabilities, pensions and expenses. Although it is an offence to give false information, the onus is on you if you think your partner has not disclosed part of their assets or pensions.
If you suspect your partners Form E is not reflecting his/her true financial standing, you have ways of challenging it officially and legally.
2) You can give a “Letter of Authority” to your Financial Adviser, (if you don’t have one, it is better to engage an adviser from the start of the divorce negotiations) to get the details of your investments such as ISAs, Pensions and CTFs.
You can ask the confirmation from the product providers regarding your partners ISAs, other assets or pensions if you are in doubt there is any missing information. Your financial adviser can also help you with that.
3) Check Tax Returns as well as statements
Check whether there is anything that does not match with what your partner declared on his/her Form E. (Or ask your Financial adviser to check)
For example if there is a dividend income on your partners tax returns and no shares declared on the Form E, you need to investigate the source of the dividend income. Or there maybe interest income not matching the amount of deposits listed in Form E, again you need to question.
4) Do not forget to look into existing protection plans
You may have joint life policies, or family private health insurance. Do you want your partner’s life policies to be put in a trust for the benefits of your children. You can ask for a specific insurance to protect the maintenance payments if your partner passes away after you get divorced.
Protection policies may not be the priority amongst other things going through divorce but must not be overlooked when you are considering your financial settlement.
5) Ask for help
If finances are not your thing or was not your thing during your marriage, seek for help. There are a lot of resources and organisations you can use for extra support.
Or reach out a friendly financial advisor who is happy to listen and give valuable advice. Making sure you get a fair financial settlement is very important.