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Need advice about marital financial rights - second marriage

(9 Posts)
juneau Thu 18-Dec-14 12:36:24

If there are any lawyers who know about marital property/financial rights, etc, I would really appreciate some advice as my DM is in a very tricky situation regarding her second DH.

They have been married for more than 30 years. When they married they both had DC from previous marriages, but have had none since. My step-father owned the home my DM (and my sister and I), moved into. He'd owned it for 11 years at this point and somehow held onto it during his divorce.

Since their marriage in 1982 he has kept all his salary in his own bank account. He allows my DM his bank card to withdraw money purely for 'house-keeping', nothing else. She has a credit card that she has generally paid for herself (despite being a housewife most of their married life - a situation jointly agreed). He has occasionally deigned to pay it off, but rarely.

When the marital home was sold at a great profit in 2002 he kept all the money - she never saw a penny of it. Part of it went to build a new home for them, a large chunk went into a trust fund for his DC, and the rest is cash that he keeps at his disposal. They also have a property abroad, which is the third one they've owned. Number one was a very cheap house he bought with inheritance money. Number two was more expensive and bought with a combination of the proceeds of number one and cash. And number three was cheaper than number two and he kept the difference - it went into his bank account and my DM has never seen a penny of it.

He readily admits that he thinks the money he's earned during his life is 'his' (he was a GP, btw, so made a good salary and has a generous pension), and he doesn't see anything wrong in the situation that they are now in, which is that he is a wealthy man who buys whatever he wants, and this year has made a loan to his eldest son of £60k without telling my DM (he told me, she still doesn't know, but I've told him he has to tell her or I will), while the only money my DM has access to is her basic state pension.

I have told her many times to seek legal advice about this situation, as I can see that its financially abusive, but she is afraid of him because he's a bully. If anyone can shed some light on her rights, that would be great. I don't know if its my place to interfere and I don't know that I can really do anything anyway, but I'd love to know what the legal take on all this is. And if you've managed to read all that, thank you!

STIDW Thu 18-Dec-14 19:59:54

I'm not a lawyer but unless they are separating and divorcing your mother is condoning his behaviour so I don't think there is really anything to be done.

purpleroses Fri 19-Dec-14 17:01:12

I'm not a lawyer either, though did look into the legal side of marriage recently myself (second marriage to a man a lot richer than me) My understanding is that you're under no obligation to share finances during marriage. You're allowed to keep them entirely separate and aren't obliged to tell your spouse about them if you don't want to. As long as he's not withholding money from her that's legally hers (eg her state pension) then I don't think he's doing anything illegal. Divorce would be a different matter and she may have done claim on the properties then if she's paid towards their upkeep, but doesn't sound like she's thinking of divorce.

STIDW Fri 19-Dec-14 20:36:49

" Divorce would be a different matter and she may have done claim on the properties then if she's paid towards their upkeep,"

That's not quite correct. A modern marriage is a relationship of two equals and financial and non financial contributions of both parties are deemed equal. IF a couple divorce the value of any asset (including pensions) held in joint or sole names minus liabilities forms the net value of the "pot" In England & Wales this is then shared according to a checklist of factors and after a long marriage the aim would normally be to leave both parties living a similar standard to start independent lives.

Chunderella Sat 20-Dec-14 13:41:35

Yes, the upkeep thing applies to unmarried couples. Married couples do have a claim on each other's assets upon divorce, particularly in a very long union like this one and/or where one party hasn't done paid work but has instead prioritised childcare and homemaking. There isn't an exact formula as such, it all depends on circumstances.

juneau Mon 22-Dec-14 09:34:49

Thanks for your replies. She won't divorce him, so I know this is all academic really.

FlowerFairy2014 Tue 23-Dec-14 21:03:35

Only if he did not feed and house her could she during the marriage bring any kind of claim.

The thing is plenty of us who may go into a second marriage do not want our new spouse getting a penny of our children's inheritance. I wouldn't. I really would only enter a second marriage with someone who kept himself and was happy that the entirety of my assets would go to my children, not him if we split up or if I died. in fact that is one reason I would not marry as even with a pre nup there is a risk my children's inheritance would go to the man.
Is there any reason she could not get a full time job like the rest of us and keep herself?

NoArmaniNoPunani Tue 23-Dec-14 21:18:42

Is there any reason she could not get a full time job like the rest of us and keep herself?

She's past retirement age.

juneau Wed 24-Dec-14 18:33:02

She's 65, so no she couldn't get a full-time job hmm

She did work though, PT, for 20 years. It was a min. wage job, but she enjoyed it.

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