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What do you think?

(54 Posts)
Fairydoll2030 Mon 22-Feb-16 16:50:27

I read recently on a problem page in a Sunday paper about a woman (early 30's and childless)who was due to marry a man who, she knew, had inherited 'a large sum ' after his mother's death and before she knew him. He also ran a small business. No mention of whether he was previously married or had children. Her problem was that he would not discuss the details of his inheritance (in other words, how much!) with her, and neither would he allow her access to his business bank account. TBH, I was surprised to see that the reply from the 'relationship expert'. was that she should seriously rethink her relationship with her fiancé if he wasn't completely honest about his financial situation.
My personal opinion is that if they had set up a business together or maybe he had set it up himself AFTER they became engaged, or if he had inherited money AFTERthey knew each other then, fair enough, divulge all. In the event of a divorce then the man (and the woman of course) would be required to show the court details of all their finances anyway.
Was this a case of 'what's yours is mine - and what's mine's my own!'
What do gransnetters think?

Bellanonna Mon 22-Feb-16 17:08:04

Mmm. Not sure. Did she know about his windfall before they got engaged? Maybe he's playing safe from a potential goldigger? If I were him I might hesitate to declare my wealth. But I imagine all that would come out once they got married. He's not obliged to declare his assets is he? I'm not sure the advice given was right. He presumably loves her enough to want to settle down with her. But maybe he is just worried, for now, that she wants to grab his cash. I'm not sure anyone can predict if he will talk about his finances once they marry. That's anyone's guess. If she loves him, then marry him for goodness sake. It shouldn't be about money anyway.

Fairydoll2030 Mon 22-Feb-16 17:14:39

He had inherited the money before she knew him, but had obviously told her it was a large amount without being specific.

I agree she should just go ahead and marry him. Makes me sceptical about her motives though.

durhamjen Mon 22-Feb-16 17:15:12

Don't see any point in getting married with that much secrecy and suspicion in the relationship.

Elegran Mon 22-Feb-16 17:18:14

He has no reason to allow her access to his business bank account. Why should he, unless she is to become a partner in the business? Does he take a regular income from the business? Being open about that is one thing, but giving free access to a business account is not something for him to lightly consider - his auditors would not be pleased to hear that. And what if the business should fail, and her access to the account made her liable for losses and debts?

As regards his legacy - she has no claim on that, and will never have, as he received it before he knew her. Disclosing the amount is up to him, too. It may be that she feels that he doesn't trust her enough to be open - but then on the other hand perhaps he feels that she may just be "after his money" Maybe he has had his fingers burnt previously? Maybe he feels she will expect to live high on the hog and have it all spent on her?

If they marry and live together, then they will need a joint bank account for those things that they buy together. What each contributes to that needs to be discussed.

I don't think she should take advice from anyone else on this. she should rely on her own gut instinct. Is he mean with his money? Is he secretive about other things? Would she have been happy to marry him without this legacy? (which seems to be causing more trouble than happiness) Why did she consult an agony aunt, it sounds as though she is not sure whether she really wants to marry him?

Ana Mon 22-Feb-16 17:35:02

Elegran, she would have a claim on his inheritance if they divorced, as it would be lumped together with the rest of his assets.

Ana Mon 22-Feb-16 17:38:58

I agree with you that expecting to have access to his business bank account, before they're even married, is a bit much! Why would she expect it?

I think he's wise not to give too much away at the moment, and the fact that she's actually written to an Agony Aunt about it is strange...

Fairydoll2030 Mon 22-Feb-16 17:48:29

He inherited the money before they knew each other. My understanding is that it is assets acquired during the marriage which are divided up?
Having said that, I have read of women marrying rich men, ditching them after a brief marriage and ending up being awarded vast sums to enable them to continue to live in the style to which they had (briefly) become accustomed.

Ana Mon 22-Feb-16 17:56:33

I think the way assets are divided by the Courts (if no agreement can be reached between the parties) can vary greatly. It certainly isn't the case that any money acquired before the marriage is not counted.

I would think the length of the marriage is taken into consideration as well, so if she is a gold-digger she'd better be prepared to stay the course for a while at least! grin

Elegran Mon 22-Feb-16 18:29:28

Ana "The overriding objective of the Judge is to determine a division of assets which best achieves a fair outcome for the parties. . . . . includes the financial needs and obligations of the parties to the marriage or civil partnership. It is in this respect that pre-acquired assets or inherited assets, or even on some occasions assets acquired after separation, may be considered wholly or partially within the remit of the Court to be considered fruits of the marriage to be shared by both parties. There is no simple formulaic or mathematical approach. It is a broad consideration as to the value of the assets and the financial needs of the parties, with the Judge exercising his or her discretion as to what he or she believes is fair. "

So she would be better not to count his chickens too soon - and I can see why he is being cagey on saying too much about his finances!

Ana Mon 22-Feb-16 18:31:35

Yes, I think we must have read the same article, Elegran! grin

Ana Mon 22-Feb-16 18:33:13

It is in this respect that pre-acquired assets or inherited assets, or even on some occasions assets acquired after separation, may be considered wholly or partially within the remit of the Court to be considered fruits of the marriage to be shared by both parties.


Elegran Mon 22-Feb-16 18:38:11

Good old Google! (I do sometimes feel like replying to a question on here from a poster with "Have you never thought of searching online yourself? Is is very easy" )

Jalima Mon 22-Feb-16 18:38:12

I think he needs to get her to sign a pre-nuptial agreement hmm

Elegran Mon 22-Feb-16 18:41:35

" . . . the overriding principle is that the fruits of the marriage are shared equally. Matrimonial assets, not just limited to the marital home, can include land, businesses, shares and stocks, and antiques etc that may have been brought into the marriage or civil partnership by one party, but because of the course of dealings during the relationship, these may or may not become a marital asset."

Ana Mon 22-Feb-16 18:42:29

Are they legal/recognised in this country, roses?

Elegran, I love the reply I've seen somewhere (maybe on here) 'Remember, Google is your friend...'

Elegran Mon 22-Feb-16 18:45:06

" . . . [In a certain case] the wife sought an equal division of the total assets of the marriage worth in the region of £15 million. The husband’s position was that [a prenuptial] agreement excluded the sharing of particular pre-acquired assets and that the wife should be held to the agreement she signed. It is therefore of upmost importance if, you wish to consider protecting assets acquired prior to a marriage, to consider preparing a pre or post-nuptial agreement to make clear your understanding as to how pre-acquired assets ought to be treated in the instance of divorce. "

Elegran Mon 22-Feb-16 18:47:25

My quote above was from the page we have both been reading, ana - a solicitor in Cheltenham, so they must be legal in this country.

Elegran Mon 22-Feb-16 18:48:10

Well , in Cheltenham, at least.

Elrel Mon 22-Feb-16 18:55:51

Many problem page letters are composed by editorial staff I believe.

Ana Mon 22-Feb-16 19:08:25

I don't think they're always enforceable though, Elegran - again a lot depends on the view of the particular Court or Judge.

Fairydoll2030 Mon 22-Feb-16 19:11:47

The original idea in starting this thread was to canvas opinion on whether someone - in this case the fiancée - had a moral 'right' to know the details of her fiance's inheritance and also access to his business account.
Despite what the law says on division of marital assets on divorce, judges don't always follow the 'rules' absolutely. I remember my brother being given specific legal advice by his solicitor about how his financial hearing with his ex wife would probably proceed, but it turned out completely different. His solicitor was 'surprised.'
So, googling the law isn't always helpful when it comes to division of marital assets!

durhamjen Mon 22-Feb-16 21:13:06

But they are not married yet, so divorce doesn't come into it.
It doesn't look to me that they should get married.
Not much common ground in it.

Fairydoll2030 Mon 22-Feb-16 21:32:40

I wish posters would read the WHOLE thread before they comment....

Elegran Mon 22-Feb-16 21:35:05

I don't know, dj - they seem to have a common interest in money. He has lots and she would like access to it.