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Do I have to divorce in order to gain financial stability?

View profile for Josh Russell
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Many people in the UK remain in volatile or unsuccessful marriages for many reasons and I am frequently told by prospective clients that they do not wish to seek a divorce ‘because of the children’ or because of ‘religious beliefs.’ A growing number of individuals however, are choosing not to divorce for fear of the impact this will have on them financially, particularly when their spouse is the breadwinner. These individuals do not realise that by seeking a divorce, they may actually be able to gain more financial independence.

How is that possible?

Within any divorce, the financial claims that each spouse has against the other will need to be considered. In cases where there are children, or where one partner earns substantially more than the other, this may involve a claim for maintenance (which is covered in a previous blog). It may also involve the sale of property or assets in order to fund the purchase of a home(s) for the separating couple and possible pension sharing.

The intention behind this process is to try and achieve financial independence for both parties. Any agreement (or Court Order) is designed to allow the separating spouses to move forward with their lives, free from the ties to their former partner. Even where maintenance or pension sharing is involved, your former spouse is unlikely to have any say in what these funds are used for and so although the maintenance may be paid to you by your former partner, it is essentially, your money, to use as you wish.

What if I still don’t want to divorce?

Despite the above, many people still do not want to proceed with a divorce and may choose to separate ‘amicably’ or reach an informal agreement between them, which allows both parties to move on with their lives. 

A word of caution however, these arrangements will only ever be informal. Unless there is a Court Order in place, there would be nothing stopping either party from reneging on the informal agreement and leaving the other party in serious financial difficulty. The other consideration to bear in mind is that without a Court Order, you will not have a clean break (again, covered in a previous blog) which could ultimately mean that you reach an agreement with your former husband/wife, only for them to return years down the line for a ‘second bite of the cherry’.

If you are considering separation but are concerned about the financial consequences or you have already separated and have an informal agreement in place, please contact one of our family law experts on 01295 270999 (Banbury Office) 01869 252 161 (Bicester Office) 01788 579 579 (Rugby Office).

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