Q: My husband has left me for another woman. I am so hurt and angry that I intend to make him wait the mandatory five years without consent to get a divorce. However, a friend has suggested that I may be doing myself a disservice as during those five years he could dispose of his assets and I would miss out in the financial settlement.
A: To deal with financial issues now, you may wish to consider entering into a separation agreement with your husband. This would set out financial arrangements while you are separated. It can cover a wide range of things to include the division of your assets, your obligations to each other during separation and the terms of a final settlement when the divorce takes place at a future date.
When a separation agreement is prepared, both parties need to be open and honest about their circumstances. You both have to agree the terms voluntarily and neither of you are to be put under any duress to enter into the agreement. It is in the interests of both parties to obtain legal advice. The Court is likely to give weight to these agreements in any subsequent divorce if they are entered into properly.
There may be changes to your respective circumstances during the period of separation which would not be disregarded in the divorce when the Court considers a fair and appropriate settlement in all the circumstances of the case if no agreement can be reached between you. If you believe your husband may dispose of his assets to defeat your claims against him, this may prejudice your position both now and in the future. Steps can be taken to protect you. You should seek legal advice from a specialist family lawyer about the options available to you as soon as possible.