How to Deal with a Divorce – 7 Key Financial Tips for Women Going Through Divorce

financial plan

Mary Waring
Independent Financial Advisor and The Wealthy Woman: A Man is Not a Financial Plan: A Woman’s Guide to Achieving Financial

Mary Waring is a Chartered Financial Planner who specialises in giving financial advice to women.

Her fabulous strap-line is “A Man’s not a Financial Plan”.  

In this interview, Mary gives some really sound financial advice for women and mums going through divorce.

When you meet with a financial planner, do get a fixed fee quote rather than an hourly rate.  They’ll tell you what you will get for your money and how much it’s going to cost.  You don’t need to have millions to seek advice.  

Here are Mary’s 7 financial tips for women on how to deal with a divorce:

Talk to a solicitor.

One thing you really need to know about is the financial order.  If and once you’re divorced, realise that either partner can still make a financial claim against the other.  It’s not just about the money at hand but it’s also about the monies that may come your way at a later date, such as an inheritance or where your earrings increase.

Even if you’ve drafted a financial agreement between yourselves, that you both agreed to, unless you’ve both had legal advice and have a full financial disclosure, that agreement will not be binding.

The financial claim can actually stay open indefinitely unless it’s been dismissed by a court order and it is for that reason, that Mary suggests you seek a solicitor’s advice.

Make a full disclosure of all your financial assets and income. 

It can be tempting to not disclose, everything, particularly if you think your husband may not be disclosing fully, but Mary warns that, chances are if you don’t make full discloser it will be discovered. And if you’re discovered you will have lost credibility and of course there will be extra costs.

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Keep in mind, not just what you want but actually what you need as a minimum.

If you’re in a large house, with the with children, chances are you will want to stay in the house because you want as little disruption as possible for the children.

However, you do have to consider, if indeed you can afford to run the house  if you stay in it and/or if the family finances sufficient for you to stay in the house.

If the family finances up till now have supported one house and the husband moves out, the husband still has to have accommodation somewhere, so it’s the same pot of money, paying for a separate property. 

If there is not enough money to cover that, you need to recognise that from the beginning.  There’s no point in saying, “I want to stay in the house and I’m not moving,” because if there’s not enough money for that, you’re not going to end up with it.  

What about stay at home mums? 

If this is you, you need to know, that if you’re at home with the children and have not been working, it doesn’t mean that you are entitled to a lower share of the assets than if you were out working.  Equal weight is given to both the domestic and financial contributions.

What about “common law wives”?  Would she have the same rights as a married woman? 

This is the most terrible myth!  It is widely believed, by a lot of women, that if they’re cohabiting, particularly if they’ve got children, that they will have the same rights as a spouse. 

The fact is, in law, there is no such thing as a common law wife and that’s regardless of how long you’ve been together, or if you have children or not.  The children will be looked after, yes, but the “common law wife” herself has no rights at all.  So for women in this situation, they will have to either consider marriage or a cohabitation agreement that is designed to give that partner some protection if the relationship does go wrong later down the road.

There’s more to the interview so do have a listen.

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