Am I entitled to a short marriage financial settlement?

Although we hope a marriage will be blissful for years to come, the unfortunate reality is that sometimes we realise marriage is not always how we expected it to be which can sometimes lead to parties wishing to part way.

Our divorce solicitors often get asked the above question, can we divorce if I married less than a year ago? The quick and easy answer is no, you cannot divorce less than a year of being married. In order to apply for a divorce in England and Wales, you must have been married for at least a year and the marriage must have irretrievably broken down.

While a divorce within less than a year of marriage is not an option, you may wish to consider entering into an agreement that devises how your assets will be divided when you divorce.

What is a short marriage?

A short marriage is one that has lasted for five years or less. The length of marriage is one factor that is considered and will be reflected in a divorce settlement. However, with a  short marriage financial settlement, If a couple has lived together for a considerable length of time before getting married and the  relationship fails shortly after the marriage, the court will take the length of cohabitation into consideration when evaluating the division of finances and property on divorce.

Am I entitled to a short marriage financial settlement?

If you have been married then then the simple answer is yes although the extent of your financial settlement depends on a number factors.

A short marriage financial settlement requires dividing up relationship property includes the family home, any property acquired by either partner before or during  there  relationship, intended for the common use or benefit of both partners, property owned jointly or in equal shares by the spouses or partners, income earned during the relationship, joint debts, gifts or inheritances.

Financial Clean break Order

A financial Clean Break order is most appropriate for short marriage divorce settlements  to ensure no party to the marriage has any  on-going future  financial duty to the other spouse after the divorce has been finalised.

A financial clean break order prevents both parties from making future  financial claims of any kind. A financial Clean Break Order is  put in place when all aspects of financial attachments that were made during the marriage can be separated. This includes all property, maintenance payments, pension payments and other financial responsibilities left after a marriage ends.

Divorce Settlement Checklist

Divorce can be a really difficult time for anyone , both emotionally and financially. It can often leave you feeling overwhelmed as there are so many things to take into consideration. This divorce settlement checklist gives you a step by step guide to separate your finances and get not only your finances but your life back on track.

Bank accounts

  • Open a bank account in your name only.
  • Think about closing joint accounts and joint credit cards.
  • You should consider changing your PIN to online banking.

Your mortgage

  • Let your lender know you have separated and work out a way to cover mortgage repayments during the property settlement.
  • Seek legal protection if your home is in your spouses name.
  • If you plan to stay in the marital home put all utility bills in your name only.

Your rented home

  • If you are renting and are going to keep living there, contact your estate agent or landlord and change the lease so that only your name is on it
  • Moving out – If you are renting and are moving out, contact your estate agent or landlord, to take your name off the lease.
  • Also make sure your name is taken off the utility bills.

Legal help

  • Contact a separation solicitor to assist with divorce proceedings and with a short marriage financial settlement including a financial clean break order to help you with dividing up relationship property.

Documents and information to collect

  • Record your separation date – Make a note in your diary of the date you separate as you need to be separated for a year before you can apply for a divorce.
  • Collect important documents – Collect your marriage certificate, birth certificates, passports, bank statements ,wage slips, insurance policies, tax returns, car registration papers and any documents associated with a family business or loans.
  • List your assets – Create a list of your assets and debts using our asset stocktake calculator to help with your property settlement.
  • Create a family profile – Put together notes for your lawyer about you, your ex and your family, including full names, contact details, employers and salaries.
  • Safe storage of your documents – Set up a new email address or change the password on your existing email account and consider redirecting your mail to a family members address

Your income and expenses

  • Budget – Work out your income and expenses (include all debts you are responsible for).
  • Government payments – Talk to the Department of work and pensions to find out what payments and services you are entitled to. You may be eligible for working tax credits or income support.
  • Child support payments -. Contact the child maintenance service if an arrangement can not be made between you and your ex partner. .
  • Spousal maintenance – Talk to a separation solicitor to work out if your former partner should pay this to you.

Care for your kids

  • If the family break up has an impact on child care arrangements seek alternative child care such as asking family members to help, look at breakfast clubs and after school clubs. Be prepared for school holidays by looking in advance for what clubs are available, usually community centres host council run activities throughout school holidays which only require a small fee. If children are pre school age contact your local Sure start centre to see if any help is available.
  • School contacts and costs – Let your child’s school know that you have separated and update your contact details. Give them a copy of any parenting agreement or order. Ensure you work out a plan to cover school expenses.

Wills & Insurance

  • Will – Update your will and check if the beneficiaries need to change.
  • Life insurance – Update your life insurance policies so you have the right cover and check if the beneficiaries need to change.
  • Super – Update your superannuation to make sure the payout goes to who you want.
  • Powers of attorney – Consider updating any powers of attorney you have given as these may not be cancelled when you divorce or separate.

There is no doubt that divorce is complicated; the emotional aspects of the break up of a marriage alongside the financial pressures and worries can be overwhelming. Getting expert legal advice from a separation Solicitor alongside using a divorce agreement checklist can really help you to be clear about where you stand and to feel more in control of the situation.

To find out more information about short marriage financial settlements and to discuss the options available for you, Please contact 1Solicitors or let us contact you.

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