Transcript for Divorce Advice: Finance and Establishing Needs – Top Divorce Lawyer Marilyn Stowe

The million dollar question: how much will I get out of my divorce?

Every case is different and the law is designed to adapt to every case. The way the law works is this:

First of all, the courts will want to know how much there is in terms of income from both parties and capital. Then, when the lawyers are happy that everybody knows what everybody else is worth, it’s a case of how does it divide up.

The first thing to think about is: what are my needs? What do I need going forward?

Very often, when a client comes to see me and you say to them “Well, how do you see your future?” the answer is a quite blank look, and “I haven’t thought about that”.

But you need to think about it. Where do you see yourself living? How do you intend to live? What sort of income will you need? How much money will you need for a house? Do you intend to take a mortgage? Can you afford to take a mortgage? Is your income from work going to go up? Can you go out to work at all? What are the children going to cost? Where will they live? How will time be divided between the parties?

Assessing need is very important and it has to be done very carefully.

My advice is that you’ve got to balance things. Don’t be an ostrich. Don’t put your head in the sand, ignore it and hope it will all go away because it probably won’t. Don’t allow assets to be depleted or don’t give your spouse the ability to move assets without you knowing about it, or spend them.

Equally, take your time. Think about what you want to do, what your needs are going forward, and how those needs are going to be met.

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1 comment

Joe Sherwood - February 3, 2016 at 5:14pm

I hate to say it, but the very first sentence, “The million dollar question: how much will I get out of my divorce?” strikes me as absolutely indicative of totally the WOMAN’s attitude. “How much can I get… from HIM?” This may be reasonable to ask if you are a woman with three children by the marriage, all under five, say, and naturally you expect to have to look after them.

But unfortunately, it is also the attitude, I venture to suggest, of many/MOST young women nowadays — even if they have only been married for 3-4 years, both went out to work, and have no children. “What can I get out of it?” seems to be the prevalent attitude for divorcing women nowadays, as pointed out by Baroness Deech in her House of Lords speech in December 2014. Indeed, some, albeit a very few, seem to marry purely for the benefit they believe they can get when the marriage is dissolved — IF it is dissolved. They may hope that it isn’t — but they know they have a nice safety net if it is…. This is what Baroness Deech was referring to when she suggested, “Women need to stop thinking of marrying a footballer….” meaning a richer man, from whom divorce would not be particularly “uncomfortable”.

I don’t suppose many women going in to marriage are so cynically inclined, but it must be true that some are, or it would hardly be alluded to in a major speech in the House of Lords. With at least some women having attitudes like this, I can understand the increasing preference for pre-nupts — most usually insisted on by the husband, but it can be the wife — and that at least is quite fair.

Then again, even those are not “water-tight” — yet. One (female) divorce lawyer in Hong Kong (which has similar divorce laws to the UK) told me, “I am often approached to draft pre-nupts, which the party insists must be ‘water-tight’. But I tell them, ‘If you want something that is water-tight, there is a much cheaper alternative: Just don’t get married.”

Given the almost frightening attitude of “some” women, who see their “footballer” husband as the passport to an easy life, increasingly that makes a lot of sense.


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