How to protect your finances during divorce or dissolution

Money Advice Service

If you’re getting divorced or dissolving your civil partnership you may have to act quickly to protect your finances – especially if the break-up is difficult and you are on bad terms. You may not need to take all the steps outlined below, but it’s important that you 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 cannot 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 whereabouts in the UK you live.

If the property is in both your names, as ‘joint tenants’ – or as ‘joint owners with a survivor-ship destination’ in Scotland – you might want to change the way it’s owned.

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).

There’s more information on your options in Protecting your home ownership rights during divorce or dissolution.

Contacting your mortgage provider

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

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 the future.

Contacting your landlord if you rent

If both your names are on the tenancy agreement, 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.

For more information, read our guide Protect your rights to your home during divorce or dissolution – renting.

Contacting your bank, credit card and loan providers

If you have joint accounts or loans with your ex-partner, you should contact your bank or loan provider to explain what has happened.

This is especially important if your break-up isn’t amicable.

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

You should 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 will be responsible for paying for their spending as well as yours.

You should 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 them 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 you should talk to a solicitor as soon as you can.

Your next step

Read our guide Sort out joint mortgage, bank account, insurance and other finances with your ex-partner

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

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