How to protect your finances during divorce or dissolution


Alongside child care arrangements, paying maintenance and experiencing emotional upset, protecting your finances is one of the biggest concerns for married couples and civil partners splitting up. In this article, we explore the key things you can do to safeguard your finances during a divorce.

Obtain a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement 

Ahead of getting married, it’s advisable to at least consider getting a prenuptial agreement. This will set out how your money and assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. This will prevent the potential for an automatic 50/50 split of a given asset during your divorce. Although they are not legally binding, courts are considering them more and more in divorce proceedings, as long as the terms are considered fair. If you are already married, a postnuptial agreement will offer similar protection. 

Get in touch with your bank 

One of the first steps you should take when seeking to protect your finances is to get in touch with your bank. If you have a joint account with your ex—spouse or partner then it is a good idea to ask them to freeze your account. This will prevent the other party from incurring any debt on the account of which you will both be liable for. This can also help you protect your credit rating

Contact your landlord 

If you rent a property with your ex-partner or spouse, you will need to get in contact with them as soon as possible. Find out whose name is on the tenancy agreement. If it is in your partner’s name, you may still be able to stay on and pay the rent if your partner moves out. If the tenancy is in your name, you maintain the right to stay there and are also responsible for paying the rent. If it is a joint agreement, you will need to discuss with your ex if one of you will continue renting your home when the tenancy comes to an end.

Contact your mortgage provider 

If you or your partner owns the home, then it is your mortgage provider you will need to contact. Find out whether or not your home is owned as either joint tenants or tenants in common. 

  • Tenants in common means you each have separate shares which may be equal or unequal.  If you sell the property, you will receive your designated share of the equity and if you want to buy out your partner, you will need to take on their share of the mortgage. If one of you passes away before a divorce has come to a conclusion, that partner’s share will not automatically go to the other, it will be the person named as a beneficiary in their Will. If there is no Will, intestacy rules will apply. 
  • If you are named as ‘Joint tenants’ on your property, you will own the home equally and the sale or remortgage of the home will need both parties’ agreement. The rules of survivorship are also different from tenants in common. If one of the joint owners passes away, their half of the equity share will automatically go to the surviving partner. 

What not to do when protecting your assets during a divorce 

Although you may feel that certain assets should rightfully remain yours, it’s important not to hide them during a divorce, for instance, by moving money to offshore accounts, transferring funds into cryptocurrencies or deferring company bonuses. This kind of activity is illegal in the UK and can lead to serious penalties from the courts. 

A final point

If you are unclear on any financial matters relating to your divorce, it is advisable to get in touch with a family lawyer to guide you through the process and to help safeguard your finances.