A family lawyer says couples need to treat marriage “like any other contract” as even if they split and one wins the lottery their ex may be entitled to half.
Tracey Moloney, 53, has been practicing family law for 25 years and believes that people should get a pre-nuptial agreement if they have assets to protect in a marriage.
Tracey said couples don’t want to talk about pre-nuptial agreements as they are wrapped up in a “romantic bubble” but says it is essential to if you are entering into a marriage with assets and should be treated like any other contract.
The solicitor suggests people need to talk about marriage seriously before committing and says couples need to realize divorce “does not sever your financial ties with your partner.”
Tracey, from Chippenham, Wiltshire, England, said: “If I had my way, we would have a section in school teaching people about marriage.
“Any other contract that you enter into, you will be sent a multitude of papers, and you will be asked to read through them.
“Marriage is no different – if you get divorced you could potentially be giving your pension to someone else, maybe half of your property to someone else.
“Marriage is wrapped up in that romantic bubble.
“People don’t want to talk about prenups, but people are becoming savvier and getting one.
“People are getting married later in life and doing prenups in their 30s.
“By the time you’re in your 30s, you may be on the property ladder and paying into your pension.
“If you are going into a marriage with assets you will want to protect them.”
Tracey says most people don’t realize divorce does not sever your financial ties and to do that you will need to get a financial order.
A financial order is an order you apply for post-divorce.
The financial order creates a legally binding financial agreement between parties that can be enforced in the event of a party breaching a term set out in the order.
Tracey said that without a financial order, you will still be financially attached to your ex-partner even though you are divorced.
If a partner gets into debt, it could impact their ex – even if they’ve split – as they can claim they need money from them.
Tracey said: “What a lot of people don’t appreciate is that when they marry, they create a financial contract between them both.
“Once they get divorced, we then have to sever that contract.
“A lot of people assume the divorce will do that, but it doesn’t.
“All the divorce does is bring the marriage to an end.”
When it comes to determining what both parties are entitled to after divorce, Tracey said there are various factors that dictate what a person is going to receive.
She said: “The starting point is always a 50/50 split – the law is clear that we are going to do something reasonable in terms of money.
“In society, you are always going to have someone who will get paid more.
“The man might get paid more and pay into his pension for example.
“There also might be health conditions to contend with.
“We will look at various factors to see if we move away from 50/50 as the needs of the two parties will differ.
“I rarely do a 50/50 split – the only way I will do a 50/50 split is to do a clean break.
“This is where both parties don’t have anything, are more or less earning the same, and are renting a property – in those cases, we do a clean break.”
Tracey also said that if your ex-partner wins the lottery, you even might be entitled to make a claim on the winnings.
Tracey said: “I recently did a case the same as this and the judge did award us a share of the winnings.
“If you don’t have a financial order following your divorce, you’re always going to be able to make a financial claim against your ex-spouse.
“What the courts going to then consider, is if giving you some of those winnings is actually going to be fair and reasonable.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker