Month: March 2018

Latest ONS Marriage Figures Reveal Ticking Time Bomb

Marriages between opposite sex couples continue to decline according to the latest figures released by the ONS leading to calls for legal reform as more and more couples appear to be choosing to cohabit rather than tie the knot.  

The report covers marriages in England and Wales that took place in 2015 which also happened to be the first year marriages were also recorded for same sex couples. According to the ONS, the report is the latest in a steady decline in the number of opposite sex marriages which has been taking place since the 1970s. On current evidence the trend is unlikely to be reversing with the number of marriages down 3.4% on the year before.  

These figures have raised concerns among experts that co-habiting couples are mistakenly believing they will have the same rights as married couples if they break up. This belief has been cultivated by the myth of common law marriage where people believe that they have the same entitlements to a share of assets when this is not the case.  

The only way to protect rights in these cases is to have a formal cohabitation agreement in place which outlines entitlements in the event of the relationship breaking down. There are also calls to make changes to marriage so that it better meets the needs of today’s couples.  

How To Limit The Financial Damage Of Divorce

You may have seen a recent TV series covering wealthy divorcees and how some struggled to claim the kind of settlements they thought they deserved. Whether their claims were justified or not, the series highlighted how their former husbands had put lots of forward planning in place to make life difficult for their ex wives in there attempts at compensation for their contribution to the marriage.  

One of the better known ways to protect your wealth in case of a future divorce is to sign a prenuptial agreement which places legally binding restrictions on what one partner is able to claim from the other in the event of a parting of ways.  

The reality is most couples in the first throes of a romantic relationship are unlikely to consider such an agreement unless they happen to be particularly wealthy or they are some kind of celebrity where such agreements are commonplace. 

So the main ways to protect your assets and cash is to put in place some degree of separation. For example you may want to separate your joint accounts from individual accounts and if you own property, then who owns it should also be clearly defined.  

The example in the TV show saw husbands spiriting away their cash in offshore accounts and various other ways to hide what was alleged to be their true net worth.  Most of us mere mortals are not going to have access to these types of devious schemes but keeping accurate records can also help particularly when it comes to assets left in wills and trusts.