Nick Ritchie on how to (financially) divorce

Date: 25 Jan 2023

Vicente Bunn

Nick Ritchie, Senior Director, Wealth Planning at RBC Wealth Management, comments on the key stages of actions to be taken before divorce, during divorce and in the aftermath.

Nick Ritchie, Senior Director, Wealth Planning at RBC Wealth Management gives some advice about the divorce process and recognises that it is completely normal to be overwhelmed by a range of emotions.

A financial adviser can help obtain valuations on old pensions and help you understand the tax treatment of certain investments to avoid triggering unwanted tax consequences if transferring assets to an ex-spouse. They can also help with budgeting, establishing your future spending requirements and what level of assets may be required to sustain spending in future if no spousal maintenance is to be received.

If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place – this can be a great place to start. Whilst not currently legally binding in England and Wales, where they are fair to both parties and not completed under duress, they will certainly be taken into account and may be upheld by a judge.

Be prepared for things to take time. Remember there is no prescribed formula to follow and that no two divorces are the same. A lot of information gathering needs to take place and this can be more onerous where there are complex business or trust arrangements to consider. Outsource this administrative aspect to your advisers where possible.

From a financial planning perspective, the objective is to make the key decisions regarding children, housing, maintenance and the split of assets. A financial consent order turns this agreement into something that is enforceable and is essential for sharing things like pensions which cannot be split by private agreement.

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