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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33501
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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Hello, I am Italian and my fiancé is from United States.

Customer Question

Hello,
I am Italian and my fiancé is from United States. We live in London and we are getting married next year. I very much hope we will be together for life, but because I am Italian, I don't know how it works here in UK regarding divorce settlements.
Here's my situation:
In 2008 I bought a flat and mortgage and bills are on my name.
In 2011 I've met my fiancé and she moved in 2012. For the past 2 years she has been transferring, every month, money into my account to contribute towards expenses related to the flat.
My fiancé instead has money in US, invested in trust funds, which generate revenue but I don't know what's the value of these investments, and she has never used this revenue to increment our wealth.
What happens if we get divorced? Will my flat still 100% mine? How does it change if we have children? Will I have any claim on the funds in the US?
Is it possible to keep our assets separated, maybe throughout a prenup? How are prenups considered in court? Would it be different in case of a friendly settlement, ie just through lawyers?
Also, lets say I sell my property and with the proceeds we buy a bigger one but my fiancé doesn't put any or just some cash in the new one and the mortgage is on both names. What happens in case of divorce? Will she be entitled to 50% of the value of the house? Or is the percentage going to be proportional to the amount of cash she invested?
Finally, one day I will inherit assets in Italy, mostly real estate. Will she have any claim on those?
Thanks in advance for your help.
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 settle permanently in the UK?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Clare,

At the moment it's a possibility that i will stay here forever, but I work in finance and i cant rule out the possibility that I will move to the US at some point even if i have no certainty this will happen. I know my fiance would love to go to NY or even other places in the world. Surely I won't go back to Italy.
Thanks,

Matteo

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you that is helpful.
Just to check - have you and your partner discussed the possibility of a Pre Nuptial Agreement?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi,

I would indeed like to know what's the best option for me and if the Pre Nuptial Agreement has any value in UK - I've heard that is not legally bonding.
Also, I kinda of spoke to my fiance about this option and I think she was up for it.
My problem is finding a solution that would preserve my pre-marital assets and those I will inherit from my parents in Italy.
Thanks a lot

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.

Hi

At present Pre Nuptial Agreements have no formal legal standing here in the UK HOWEVER recent case law has upheld Pre nuptial Agreements - especially involving partners from countries where such agreements are standard.

The agreement has to be signed at least 28 days prior to the marriage and there has to have been full financial disclosure by both parties - who also have to receive separate legal advice If there is no such agreement then the eventual settlement will depend on the length of your relationship and whether or not there are children involved.

If the divorce happens in the uK then any and all assets that you each have will be brought into consideration - although that does not necessarily mean that they will be shared.

I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details

Clare

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

Thanks for your response. Sorry but I'm still confused.
Let's say we do NOT do a prenup. What happens to the flat I own here in London in case of divorce WITHOUT children? What happens to the money she has in USA?
Will she have claim to the house? Will I have claim on the trusts in USA?
Also, lets say I sell my property and with the proceeds we buy a bigger one but my fiancé doesn't put any or just some cash in the new one and the mortgage is on both names. What happens in case of divorce? Will she be entitled to 50% of the value of the house? Or is the percentage going to be proportional to the amount of cash she invested?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Assuming there are no children then what the court decides depends on the length of the relationship; the housing needs of both parties; and whether assets were ever shared - or were originally inherited.
Assuming that you are together for five years - living in your flat or an alternative home purchased with the proceeds the it - and that you inherit the Italian assets but leave them in Italy untouched.
On that basis it is likely that the court would leave the foreign assets alone and simply award your wife a share of the matrimonial home -somewhere between 15 and 25% maybe
However this can only be the roughest of guesses base don the limited information available
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hey Clare,

This is very helpful, thanks.
2 last questions and I'm done...
1) Can you please make the same example but having 1 or 2 kids
2) What's the cost for a Prenup generally? Does the prenup need to be done in UK?

Thanks,

Matteo

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
1. If there are children involved then the priority is the housing needs of the child and the starting point for the division of the equity in the Former matrimonial home is likely to be 50/50 - more if her assets in the States are not substantial
However in making that decision the court will have regard to all the assets available to her - but your inheritance is unlikely to be part of the equation.
2. Yes is MUST be done here - and expect to pay £200 - £400 to have a sound agreement that will stand up in court
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33501
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Care thanks a lot I rated u excellent. Sorry but I have a very last question. What if we get married in Italy? Where prenups are the standard and enforceable by law? Would that change anything? Will we be able to divorce in Italy only where conditions are more favourable than here or we would be forced to do it in UK as we are resident here?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
If you marry in Italy with an Italian Pre-nup then that make sit more likely that the UK will abide by the provisions even if the divorce takes place her.
A divorce in Italy would be possible - but if your partner choses to go with a divorce in the UK then you will not be able to stop her if she issues first
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare - did u get the rating? do I have to rate every single answer or did I do correctly?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I did indeed - and you did it perfectly thank you
Clare

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