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aibu to consider hypothetical divorce in all decisions

(35 Posts)
bedraggledmumoftwo Mon 26-Jan-15 12:02:33

I should start by saying I am happily married, we get snipey with each other now and then but t ultimately expect to live happily ever after. however, probably because i spend too much time on here, I have been working out what I would get in a completely hypothetical divorce!

I am hoping to take voluntary redundancy from my quite senior ft job and either be a sahm or work part time locally for a few years. Obviously this will make me financially dependant on dh. However, last night when I was googling what happens to pension if we divorce, it made me feel like I was doing something wrong, essentially unfaithful to our marriage.

Just a bit concerned that it might be a self-fulfilling prophecy, and by thinking about these things, might make it more likely to happen. Does everyone else do this?

kaykayred Mon 26-Jan-15 12:29:03

I don't think it's either reasonable or unreasonable.

It is certainly very sensible to work out what your situation would be in a worst case scenario should it arise. Personally I think it's barmy to let yourself become financially independent on someone else without having a back up plan IF it were to go tits up. It's sensible and to say it is making you somehow "unfaithful" to your marriage is a bit hmm

If anything I would say that it leaves you in a stronger position to have a much happier relationship, because you know that the relationship will always be an active CHOICE you are making, rather than something you are chained to as you lack any feasible options outside of it.

That means you remain an equal participant of the relationship, and less easy to slip into the age old pattern of dependent on husband//husband starts to take advantage because subconsciously knows you have no other choice//you get resentful but can't really change anything//marriage goes down the pan.

To suggest that you can't look into these things without it being a harbringer of doom smacks of insecurity to me. If you are truly secure in the relationship, then your partner shouldn't feel threatened by this.

My partner very awkwardly raised the possibility of a pre nuptial agreement a few months after we got engaged, which I found hilarious. I looked up the details of a few solicitors and sent them to him in case he wanted to go ahead, but in the end he changed his mind. It wouldn't occur to me to see it as some kind of doubt about our relationship.

I still don't really understand why he didn't go for one!

Nolim Mon 26-Jan-15 12:31:02


toomuchtooold Mon 26-Jan-15 13:26:25

No, I think it's sensible, particularly for anyone with children. Doesn't mean you have to act on it, you don't need to make every decision thinking you're going to get divorced - but if you know the worst case scenario you can decide whether you want that to influence your actions.

squoosh Mon 26-Jan-15 13:28:27

I think it's sensible and I'm sure there are thousands upon thousands of divorced people who wish they had done the same.

Latara Mon 26-Jan-15 13:31:27

It's very sensible, I know of so many divorces just in my own family.

With pensions I believe that a wife can claim half of the man's pension.
My Mum chose not to claim half my Dad's pension because she felt guilty (she had an affair); but my Auntie is going for half of everything of my Uncle's.
These are couples who split up in their 50s & 60s.

So yes, it's a good idea to think of the future in all ways. Try not to feel too guilty about thinking practically.

yellowdaisies Mon 26-Jan-15 13:31:46

I suppose thinking about divorce means acknowledging that you'd both be separately negatively impacted by your decision to be a SAHM, whilst married and also if you divorced.

If it's a joint decision that your DH is happy with I can't see a problem.

I think it's OK to look at big decisions like that from all angles, a bit like making a will, it's not something you plan on needing but makes sense to consider

MaryWestmacott Mon 26-Jan-15 13:34:14

I think it's reasonable to think about what might go wrong. As well as divorce, also consider how you would cope if DH lost his job or if your DH died. If you only think about divorce, then it does seem a bit more like you think that's the only way you see your relationship ending/the only massive shock that could happen to your financal situation.

AuntieStella Mon 26-Jan-15 13:36:50

I think it's emininently sensible, when looking at big changes, to consider what they mean (which includes how the finances stack up) in the basic scenarios of happily ever after, death of either or both, incapacitation of either or both, divorce, redundancy of (especially for MNetters, zombie apocalypse.

bedraggledmumoftwo Mon 26-Jan-15 13:43:35

Mary, we have life insurance/ income protection insurance in place, so we would be ok if there was an accident etc, I just often read on here about divorce rates, and the possibility of dh running off with a younger model. I guess that putting myself in a vulnerable position has made me think about this more, and it I sensible and practical, but also sad, I think, that people in happy marriages need to think about this!

Branleuse Mon 26-Jan-15 13:45:22

step back from the relationship boards....

FlowerFairy2014 Mon 26-Jan-15 14:41:07

I think it's very unwise that you give up the well paid full time job. Most women who do that regret it and their families suffer and of course yes you are financially screwed for life when the husband goes off with a younger woman and chooses to give up work.

Why would any woman or man for that matter put themselves into that kind of a vulnerable position? It tneds not to make them happy anyway - they think they will like working part time but often hate the reality. If one of you has to adopt a lifetime of domestic toil and no income why not let it be your husband?

AnnieLobeseder Mon 26-Jan-15 14:46:11

I think that if you have decided to make yourself financially dependent on someone, which is an inherently vulnerable position, you'd be pretty silly not to be looking into the long-term implications or planning for what you would do in the event of divorce or the death of your partner. There's nothing "sad" or "unfaithful" about it, just imminently sensible IMO!

bedraggledmumoftwo Mon 26-Jan-15 16:40:15

flowerfairy I am going to give up my job provided I get VR because I have only been back 3 weeks after mat leave and hate it. Partly because I don't really feel there is a job for me anymore, partly because the commute means leaving my girls in nursery for 11hours a day and is killing me. So if I don't get VR I will be going part time. If I do get VR the payoff would net me the equivalent of three years working there part time and paying for childcare and commuting costs so it is a no brainer. Whether I immediately get another job depends how long it takes me to find a suitable part-time and local role.

bedraggledmumoftwo Mon 26-Jan-15 16:43:30

why not let it be your husband?

Because he is on track to make partner at a big 4 firm. He already earns more than me and wont be able to make it I I don't take the lions share of child care etc. As a family, this obviously benefits us all in the long run. However, it has led to me thinking what if he runs off and takes his big pension pot with him etc!

SnowWhiteAteTheApple Mon 26-Jan-15 17:00:11

I've always worked as nobody can read the future so have a financial backup plan but it's never included what I could from DH in the event of a divorce. We have our own pensions so would just keep our own.

PicaK Mon 26-Jan-15 17:03:30

Think it's very sensible to run the scenarios. I do this (am sahm) and I also look at jobs in my old field just to keep checking that I'm happy with the situation. So yadnbu.
But - the only thing I hadn't realised was that if dh divorces me although I get half the pension if he then dies the pension stops. Learnt that last week off the money threads.

FlowerFairy2014 Mon 26-Jan-15 17:31:39

The interseting point is always why is it the husband not the wife on track to be a partner in a big 4 firm? Do the women put themselves second? Do women marry men with better brains or a better work ethic? Do women who want to be housewives ultimately tend to marry men who like that set up too and men who earn more and can keep them? It is not chance that so many couples it is the man on track for the mega bucks and the woman earning peanuts.

Nolim Mon 26-Jan-15 17:45:37

Flower i think it is an interesting question. Probably has to do with social roles and will change over time. A few decades ago there were no sahd. Today there are (a few).

Having said that, op have made a desition of what it is best for her family. There is nothing wrong with that and to consider her future as well.

Chunderella Mon 26-Jan-15 17:46:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bedraggledmumoftwo Mon 26-Jan-15 17:51:14

snowwhite you could choose to each keep your own, but what I read suggests that they are valued at the point of split and divided like any other asset.

bedraggledmumoftwo Mon 26-Jan-15 17:55:16

picak I am not sure that is right- I believe there are options- you can share the pension at the point of divorce and put half in a separate pot for the spouse, in which case his death becomes irrelevant. Alternatively, you can choose to let spouse a keep all the pension while spouse b gets more other assets instead. Or you can lay claim to part of the eventual pension payment on retirement, in which case death means game over.

I found it quite interesting!

FlowerFairy2014 Mon 26-Jan-15 17:55:20

Things which also protect on divorce are ensuring wills are up to date and benefit you; putting any spare money into trust for children so is not his assets on divorce although sometimes divorce course have over turned trusts; knowing 100% what the family has which means having copies of and seeing every single pay slip, employment contract, P60, tax return, pension statements, savings accounts and having total and open access to them; putting just about every account into joint names; making sure the marital home and all properties are in joint names. If he has a limited company be fully involved, on the board, have shares, have a shareholders' agreement in writing, attend board meetings. Ideally be an employee of his business. A lot of men on divorce who own a limited company simply ensure they pay themselves £10k a year and plead poverty. As there is no employer they avoid paying to the lower earner spouse. Others marry someone and have a new baby and stay home so their salary is zero and maintenance zero whereas their new wife is working but her salary is not relevant to what the ex wife gets - thus second family gains over first.

I will not go into the detail an accountant gave me on a date over 2 hours of how he hides his money abroad from his wife - he specialises in registration of ships for a wealth family in countries abroad so he had all the knowhow. not exactly a great seduction tactic however.....

Also if people are not married just living together is the best protection if they have assets. I don't think I'd risk having to confer another divorce settlement on a man - once was more than enough.

Also think about insolvency. Sadly some men would rather have no money and go bust than pay a penny to the wife. Interesting new area is pension grabbing on bankruptcy. If he goes bankrupt previously pensions not yet paid could not be touched. Soon you can get your hands on your pension sooner with fewer penalties and it is likely the creditors will get the pension. Perhaps if you are going to give up work do what my mother did who had supported my father for 13 years from her teaching job.. she had him set her up an additional pension to the teacher's one in her name which was her pension - not just leave her to risk sharing his.

Chunderella Mon 26-Jan-15 18:00:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryWestmacott Mon 26-Jan-15 18:00:44

Flowerfairy - there's been various studies into the fact that very few woman marry 'down' - either in earning potential or intelligence.

It's changing, but it's still the fact that most woman aren't the greater earner by late 20s/early 30s (when most middle class types are having DCs).

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