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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33282
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Hi I am due to marry an American on Saturday in California.

Customer Question

Hi

I am due to marry an American on Saturday in California. At this point in time she lives in rented accomodation and has minimal Assets, with a tax debt of £30k from her previous husband. We have been together for 5 years and engaged for 3. I am a widow and currently live in the Uk, I own my own property and have assets to the value of £500k approx (mainly my house).

We intend to start living together over the next year or so In America and I intend to leave my children living in my home in the UK, so the property will be come theirs and I have made that clear to my Fiancee.

If the marriage was not to work out, we have no pre nup so what would her rights be against mt existing assets.

Many Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Do you intend to live permanently in the States?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The intention is to move there in the next year to 18 months.


 

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
So IF the worst happened any divorce would take place in the States?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


I presume it would yes, although I would probably return to the UK

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
In that case since the divorce is likely to happen in the States not the Uk I shall opt out and tranfer you to the US Family Law section
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare


 


The Divorce may well happen in the UK as well, I really dont know what my options would be, if I returned to the UK would it have to be in America.


 


Where would be my best options I have no idea.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HI
I can advise on what would happen in the UK - but then you would need to ask a separate question of my American colleagues - is that acceptable?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't honestly know where the divorce would take place, I presume it would be most favourable to her.

Andrew
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
As i said - I can tell you the likely outcome in the UK.
You will then need to ask my colleague what would happen in the States
This will allow you to be certain you know all the risks - would you be happy with that
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes that's fine
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
In the event of a divorce here in the Uk the critical issue will be the length of the marriage
If it is a short marriage - say under 2 years - then her claims will be limited - especially if she remains in the States.
If the marriage is longer then her claims on all your assets increase - and if it last more than 15 years then that claim could be as high as 50% depending on her housing needs
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Clare

So in a divorce, even if she contributes nothing towards my home in the UK, she would be able to make a claim against it ? I thought that pre marital assets were taken out of the equation in a separation / Divorce.

Is there anyway after we are married that I can give it to my children, to avoid this or will it become part of the matrimonial estate from day 1 and she can block this.

Many thanks

Andrew
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
No there are no excluded assets as such - if the marriage is long enough then the first step is to ensure that the basic financial needs of both parties are met - after that then yes the court is likely to look at where and when the assets were acquired.
However there is no concept of "Matrimonial estate" - since she will not be living in your property she has no say in what you do with it unless there is a divorce
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So if there was to be a separation or a divorce and why we were together I gave the children the house she would not be able to make any retrospective claim against me for financial reimbursement ?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Only if you gave it away immediately before any separation - and then only if the divorce was here in the UK AND if her housing needs could not be met with other funds
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Thanks for your patience with this.


 


So If I was to Marry and move to the US in a years time, just before I left I sold/Signed the house over to the Children. After a couple of years in the US, I decided it was not for me (maybe sooner or longer) and came back to the UK, how would I stand from that perspective ? Woud the same apply if I died while married ?


 


Apologies if this sounds cold, however I am concerned about protecting my childrens Inheritence, at the end of the day.


 


Andrew

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What is your fiancées housing position in the States?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


She has rented accomodation, with no assets.


 


Andrew

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
To be honest provided she does not move with you to the Uk there is little reason for concern should the divorce happen in the UK
However if you do wish to be cautious then you could transfer the property into the joint names of yourself and the children which will reduce the risk factors but maintain your position
Clare

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