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Marital assets and ring-fencing assets

(12 Posts)
NoPenniesLeftToCount Sun 26-Oct-14 07:29:27

Is it possible to ring-fence assets i own so that they aren't considered marital assets? I have a house that I let out in my name, that I bought (and lived in) for many years prior to getting married. I remortgaged and released some equity to use as the (entire) deposit for our joint home. Some MNers have suggested I might be able to ring-fence my house, but I'm not so sure.
Does anyone know if it is possible? Thanks.

lostdad Mon 27-Oct-14 10:19:10

If your marriage is very short, maybe. Otherwise. no.

This falls under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

NoPenniesLeftToCount Mon 27-Oct-14 10:22:57

Ok, thank you

Greengrow Mon 27-Oct-14 10:24:09

Possibly a pre or post nup although they are not 100% legally binding. Both of you need separate solicitors and it must not be done just before the marriage. Both must declare all their assets fully. Even then it is not 100% foolproof as if ring fencing means children are rendered homeless on divorce the post or pre nup could be ignored. Safer not to marry if that remains an option.

NoPenniesLeftToCount Mon 27-Oct-14 12:42:50

Thank you. We are already married, so pre nup not an option. It wouldn't leave a child homeless, although not ring-fencing it might.

prh47bridge Mon 27-Oct-14 12:55:25

First priority for the courts in the event of divorce is making sure everyone has a roof over their heads with children being the highest priority of all. It is unlikely they will be left homeless.

Greengrow Mon 27-Oct-14 14:55:42

So a post nup is what it is called and you both need separate solicitors to advise on it and both must declare all assets, income and debt you each have. If not ring fencing it could mean children are homeless the will depend who the children live with after divorce of course - not necessarily the woman.
Another possibility might be to put the house you own and rent out into the name of your children (or his and your children if they are children you both had) but that will only be possible there is no mortgage and I am sure here there is a mortgage and the lender would probably not let you put the house into trust for the children although a solicitor could perhaps advise you on that.

throckenholt Mon 27-Oct-14 14:57:42

I don't know the answer, but was wondering about a related issue. If one of a married couple inherited a lump sum - does that then become a joint asset or does it belong to the person who inherited ?

Greengrow Mon 27-Oct-14 14:59:48

In English law it is usually counted as joint just the same as if one won the lottery or one got a £200k bonus from work or one just happened to save up a lot from their wages and the other spent every penny they earned. So if worried about divorce could be wise to get parents to leave to grandchildren directly not you. It sometimes possible to argue there is more than enough money without and inheritance being included but not easy as most families hardly have enough money to house two adults after a divorce.

Placeinthesun Mon 27-Oct-14 15:05:50

I was advised that money that had been inherited may be somewhat protected (or at least this may form the basis of an argument for ring fencing) if it had not been used as a marital asset - e.g. bought a flat prior to marriage with an inheritance, lived in it but never cohabited there and retained it as an investment property after marriage ....not dissimilar to your situation. Take legal advice as from this thread it seems unclear but I fear the Matrimonial Causes Act may scupper this, you may though have the remainder of your interest in the original property ring fenced iyswim.

babybarrister Mon 03-Nov-14 21:00:45

Ring fencing is a very complex issue - I take the view that as a matter of law it is not possible to guarantee that an asset will not enter the matrimonial pot. Post nuptial agreements even with full disclosure and independent legal advice do jot guarantee ring fencing if a court were then to decide that there was not enough left in the pot to meet needs ....

Inheritances are assets that the courts would PREFER not to touch but the reality is that this is rarely possible I am afraid .....

lostdad Tue 04-Nov-14 09:34:06

If ring fencing worked in these cases everyone would do it. wink

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