My spouse has just walked out – how do I protect myself?

Five initial steps to take (or consider) to protect your financial position

Obviously, the breakdown of a marriage can be an extremely difficult time, not least because of the effect that it has upon your finances, and even your home. This can be especially so if your spouse, the main ‘breadwinner’, has just left you without making any financial provision.

What can you do in such circumstances to protect your financial position and your home?

Well, there are many things that you can do, but here are five steps that you either should or could take, or that you may consider:

1. Maintenance – If your spouse was the main breadwinner and has made no financial provision for you, then you may need to apply for maintenance. If you have dependent children then you can apply for child support maintenance via the Child Maintenance Service. You may also be able to apply to a court for maintenance for yourself, even if divorce proceedings have not begun.

2. Your home – What you can do to protect your home depends upon a number of things, but if it is owned then you may be concerned about paying the mortgage, or your spouse attempting to sell or remortgage the property. If your spouse is not paying the mortgage and you cannot afford to do so then you should contact your lender immediately, and explain the position to them. They may be prepared to agree to a ‘mortgage holiday’, temporarily suspending the mortgage payments. If the house is in joint names then your spouse will not be able to sell or remortgage it without your agreement, but if it is their sole name then you may need to protect your right to occupy the property at the Land Registry – this can help to stop your spouse from selling the house.

3. Joint accounts – Remember that your spouse will still have access to joint bank accounts. You may therefore wish to consider closing the account, or asking the bank to freeze it, to prevent your spouse from withdrawing money from it.

4. Change passwords – You may very well have online access to financial services such as banks, and other sites that use your financial details, such as online shops. Obviously, if your spouse is aware of your passwords, then they may be able to access and use these sites without your permission. You should therefore give consideration to changing your passwords to prevent this from happening.

5. Consult the right lawyer – Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to obtain the best legal advice that you can. Family Law Cafe can put you in touch with an expert family lawyer who will be able to give you the advice you need, and help you to take any steps necessary to protect your finances and your home. To book a free initial consultation with us click the green button at the top of this page and fill in the form, or call us on 020 3904 0506.

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Family Law Cafe surrounds and supports the customer with both legal and pastoral care, end to end, from top barristers to case workers to therapists and mediators, to help the customer get the best possible result with the minimum stress. Family Law Cafe is your start-point for getting matters sorted with strategy, support and security.

Photo by Piotr Chrobot on Unsplash