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Short marriage - What to do?

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Spendless
Spendless Posts: 24,232 Forumite
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Asking on behalf of my son.

His wife has left him after less than a year of marriage. Her decision came rapidly and unexpected. Not that the reason is relevant just establishing why DS head is currently in a spin over it all and not completely aware what he legally needs to do.

I'm aware they can't divorce until they've been married for a year.  I believe DS may have asked her for a  legal separation and she's refused saying 'it's too expensive'. I only think it is a legal separation because the amount of £700ish was mentioned and DS told DH she's got it wrong because it was £350ish each (around the price I'd seen online).

My concern for DS is financials. He works f-time. DIL doesn't work. Later this year the opportunity to buy the dated rented cottage they live in will come up. DS is interested if he is able to do so.  He has a workplace pension with his employers, been there around 18 months. He is mentioned in mine and DH wills (after everything going to each other) for 50%. My parents have fetched up he is mentioned in theirs. They changed their property to tenants in common. In the event of one of my parents death though the other has a lifetime right to live in the property, as and when the 2nd parent goes, DS (along with the other Grandchildren) receive 12.5% of my Dad's (50%) share and 12.5% of my Mum's (50%) share. Hopefully I'm explaining this correctly. I *believe* on the death of my first parent their share goes into a post death trust. Their concern is if something was suddenly to happen to one of them (they're mid-late 70s) DS has a financial asset even if he can't access it and is it possible it would be seen as a financially asset of their marriage if they haven't sorted this out? 

There are no children from their marriage. Is a legal separation the way to go or you might as well wait and pay for a divorce when possible. What about financials. Other than what I've stated above and the potential issue for problems if one of my parents dies, there is no savings or assets. 
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  • Devongardener
    Devongardener Posts: 476 Forumite
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    Your son can apply for a legal separation without his wife’s consent https://www.gov.uk/legal-separation
    that does involve splitting financial assets.  He can also start divorce proceedings without her agreement.  He would need proper legal advice to find out whether his wife would be entitled to any inheritance after the legalities have been done. If he has savings he hopes to use to buy the property, they could have to split.  It might be a case of “full and final” especially after such a short marriage.  Better to spend a few hundred pounds now as soon as possible,  to save many thousands in the future.
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 33,094 Forumite
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    Stop worrying.

    This is a short marriage. The aim on divorce will be to return both parties to as close as possible to the situation they were in before marriage. DS current pension provision will not have enough value yet to be worth arguing about. If DIL moved to live with DS and gave up work it might be nice to give her enough to cover the deposit on a rental but not necessary. 

    Divorce is cheaper than separation, less than £600. I'd suggest it's going to be worth that to DS to get that sorted as soon as legally possible. They could do a joint divorce, but he could do it himself if needed. Easier if he has her postal address. Might be a good idea to suggest they meet up somewhere neutral in a month or so and agree a financial settlement to make no further demand on each other. This could be self written but checked by lawyer (it's her decision whether to seek her own advice) before submitting to court.

    And tell him to look at wikivorce.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 11,176 Ambassador
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    I believe that with such a short marriage the financial obligations are minimal.  In the meantime he might want to make sure that they are separated financially as well.  As in nothing in the joint bank accounts, cancel any credit cards that she can use but where he is the account holder.  Her name off the car insurance perhaps.  He may want to continue to pay things like her mobile contract but ensure that he will not be renewing it.  

    I also believe that what is mentioned in wills is irrelevant as the "will owners" have not yet died therefore there's nothing to pay out.  And you don't know if anything will be left to pay out. 
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,232 Forumite
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    There's no credit card/s and no car. As to joint bank accounts I think that ship has sailed for him unfortunately. He didn't go into the bank account and take half because DIL was dealing with the money and told him certain amounts were in various accounts ear-marked for x. That includes him sending most/all of his wages over when he was paid in late April because 'she sorted out the money better than he did' He didn't want to rock the boat and cause upset and unpleasantness so didn't move any money . Since then the amount of money she mentions gets less and less what is available eg they received £4k as wedding money and though he was aware some had been spent on household items, the amount left DIL kept saying was there got lower and lower. I think down to a few hundred £s last time it was mentioned to me. A day and a half after she left to return to her home town 100miles away, DS woke up  in his bedroom (off work due to the stress) to find DIL, her Mum and 2 removal men  in there taking stuff. They believed he's be at work and of course if he had have been they'd have stripped the lot. Though certain items were stopped from leaving the house other stuff went eg that afternoon I ended up taking him out to replace all his toiletries as he discovered that it had all gone. That's why I don't trust a word she says (accepting that DS is an adult and it's up to him what he does)

    As for parents wills, the concern they have is not as it stands at this minute because as you say they are both alive, but if one should died suddenly (both have had health problems) their property is owned as tenants in common. So My Mum owns 50% and Dad the other 50%. One dies and the other has the right to live in the property for the rest of their life but their mirror wills leave DS a share of their property. That's what they've queried, what is something happens to one of them before DS is divorced/financial order in place?
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,726 Forumite
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    Your son needs to get legal advice. Some solicitors will give 30minuted free advice. 
    He needs to get the joint account closed but I don’t think the bank will do that without agreement if both parties.In the meantime,  he can get the joint account frozen , telling the bank it is in dispute due to separation.

    If his wages were paid into the joint account get that changed immediately. 

    All his financial affairs, direct debits etc need to be in an account in his name only. 
  • tooldle
    tooldle Posts: 1,547 Forumite
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    @Spendless Sorry to hear of your son’s troubles. 

    With respect to the will “ As for parents wills, the concern they have is not as it stands at this minute because as you say they are both alive, but if one should died suddenly (both have had health problems) their property is owned as tenants in common. So My Mum owns 50% and Dad the other 50%. One dies and the other has the right to live in the property for the rest of their life but their mirror wills leave DS a share of their property. That's what they've queried, what is something happens to one of them before DS is divorced/financial order in place?”

    Does your son’s share go into a trust? My OH was willed his parents house on the death of his mum. His Dad has the right to stay in the house as long as he wishes. The house passed into a trust. As my OH understands it, the house does not become his until the second death or dissolution of the trust. 

    Applying for a legal separation should set everyone’s mind at rest. Best wishes to your son and, I hope he feels better soon. 
  • Malthusian
    Malthusian Posts: 11,025 Forumite
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    Were they co-habiting before they married, and if so for how long? 

    There is not enough information in your post to safely assume this will be viewed as a short marriage.
  • tooldle
    tooldle Posts: 1,547 Forumite
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    Were they co-habiting before they married, and if so for how long? 

    There is not enough information in your post to safely assume this will be viewed as a short marriage.
    This opens an interesting can of worms. I’m fairly certain both parties were students, graduating last summer from undergraduate studies. 
  • thegreenone
    thegreenone Posts: 1,070 Forumite
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    Why wasn't DIL wasn't working?

    As DIL has cleaned out the house*, I would say your son needs to go straight to a quick Divorce.  How many months short of a year?

    *OMG at taking his toiletries.

    Cynical, but it sounds as though she could make a living doing this.
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,232 Forumite
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    Were they co-habiting before they married, and if so for how long? 

    There is not enough information in your post to safely assume this will be viewed as a short marriage.
    Yes. Both were students when they met as, house mates in Uni accommodation (individually paying rent). They weren't in a  relationship for the first couple of years, they were just friends  . DIL graduated in 2021. DS graduated a year later. During DS final year  DIL (then DS fiancée) lived in accommodation paid for by us (private halls where you pay per room rather than per person). We've always paid for DS Uni rent as he received the min loan. After graduation they briefly went and lived with DiL's parents where both worked, before moving to the rented property in our city in Autumn 2022 and then they married last year. 

    DIL hasn't worked since graduating with the exception of the following  a brief p-time job when they lived with her parents and then she did some online work which fetched in a little money sporadically  from graduating till she left. It was her choice to not look for 'regular' employment  
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