How to protect your finances during divorce or dissolution

If you’re getting divorced or dissolving your civil partnership you might have to act quickly to protect your finances – especially if the break-up is difficult and you’re on bad terms. It’s important to know your rights and responsibilities.

Protecting the rights to your home if you own

If the family home is owned in your ex-partner’s sole name, you can register your interest to make sure it can’t be sold or remortgaged without you being told.

This is especially useful if your break-up is a difficult one and you no longer get on with your ex-partner.

The legal name for registering your interest and how you go about it will depend on where in the UK you live.

If the property is in both your names, as ‘joint tenants’ – you might want to change the way it’s owned. (In Scotland, this is called ‘joint owners with a survivorship destination’.)

You can still own it between you. But the reason you might want to do this is to stop your ex-partner from automatically inheriting your share of the property if you were to die before the divorce or dissolution was finalised (and vice versa).

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Contacting your mortgage provider

Depending on whose name is on the mortgage, you might need to explain to your mortgage lender what’s happened and discuss how you’ll manage the mortgage payments.

If you have a joint mortgage, you’re both equally liable for the whole loan (and not half each).

If you don’t keep up your mortgage payments it could damage your credit rating, which could make it harder to borrow in future.

Contacting your landlord if you rent

Are both your names on the tenancy agreement? Then you might be able to arrange to continue the tenancy in your name alone, or you might be able to transfer it to your ex-partner.

Contacting your bank, credit card and loan providers

If you have joint accounts or loans with your ex-partner, contact your bank or loan provider to explain what’s happened. This is especially important if your break-up isn’t amicable.

With any joint loan, you’re each liable for the entire debt.

Ask your bank to change the way the account is set up so that both of you have to agree to any money being withdrawn, or to freeze it.

Be aware that if you freeze the account, both of you have to agree to ‘unfreeze’ it. This might be a problem if your ex-partner doesn’t want to co-operate.

Make sure you stop any wage payments going into your joint account if you’re worried that your ex-partner won’t agree to you taking out this money.

Second credit cards on your account

If you have a credit card account and there’s a second card for your ex-partner, you’ll be responsible for paying for their spending as well as yours.

You can either:

  • ask your ex-partner to give you the card back, or
  • contact the card company and find out what you need to do to block the card or remove your ex-partner from your account.

Protecting other financial assets

You might be able to apply to the court to stop your ex-partner from:

  • selling,
  • transferring, or
  • getting rid of any assets – or from moving them abroad – if this would prevent a fair financial settlement.

It’s a complex area of law so it’s important that you talk to a solicitor as soon as you can.

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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
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Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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