My partner’s ex-wife ‘stole’ my inheritance. Queensland Australia experience.

JILL* was madly in love with her new partner DAVE* and they were looking forward to their future together.

Dave had been through a recent divorce and Jill assumed everything was legally sorted out, with property and finances divided.

Her life changed when a relative died and Jill was thrilled to receive a hefty inheritance, so she and Dave bought a house together in Noosa.Qld. That’s when she decided to protect her assets, just in case her relationship with Dave ever broke down.

“By that stage I had a few properties, so I thought it was a good idea to see a lawyer to arrange a pre-nuptial agreement, just so I could protect everything in case something happened between myself and Dave,” Jill told news.com.au

“Dave told me that he and his ex-wife had a property settlement and he believed it had been formalised. He was more than happy to move ahead with me and prepare a pre-nuptial agreement, as we were both confident there was nothing to be concerned about.”

Then came the bombshell — Dave received an email from his ex-wife’s lawyer, demanding a property settlement and a substantial amount of money. It turns out the property settlement with his ex-wife had not been formalised after all.

“At first I was shocked — surely there has been a mistake? I had no idea Dave’s ex-wife could have any possible claim on any of my money. So, it was absolutely devastating when we learnt that my inheritance and other money was soon going to vanish,” Jill said.

“I’d met the love of my life, everything was going great in my world and, to top it all off, having this inheritance was another dream come true as I’ve worked so hard my whole life. Little did I know that that dream was about to come tumbling down.”

Family lawyer Marie Fedorov told news.com.au she was called in to help the couple negotiate a settlement — but Jill had no choice but to pay her partner’s ex-wife out of her own pocket.

Jill owned several investment properties which fell into the asset pool that Jim’s ex had rights over.

“Jill and Dave had just purchased a new house, which fell into the asset pool of her partner and his ex-wife as well as around $120,000 of inheritance, personal savings and superannuation,” Ms Fedorov said.

“Unfortunately there wasn’t much that we could do. If you pool your assets together with your partner, they can most certainly join the asset pool of their previous partner, if certain formalities have not already been made.”

MORE: Shocked woman finds out she owns 15 properties

MORE: It’s best not to inherit this family financial problem

Ms Fedorov said it’s wise to have a pre-nuptial agreement from the moment you become someone’s defacto (i.e. live together in a domestic arrangement).

“It’s also crucial to make sure that you formalise agreements reached, as what happened was Dave had reached agreement with his ex to divide everything up but didn’t formalise the agreement, which was what allowed the new property that he owned with Jill to fall into his property pool with his ex,” Ms Fedorov said.

Financial planner and founder of Cooper Wealth Management Felicity Cooper said while there’s a social perception that it’s the men who have to protect assets, it’s just as important for women to protect what they bring to a relationship.

A recent survey showed that women underestimate their household assets by over 25 per cent on average.

“Women need to take stock of their wealth and their value. They must also consider how their assets will be protected for their children if something were to happen to them,” Ms Cooper said.

“It may be fine to leave your assets to the father of your child but, if he remarries without the right structures in place, that wealth will become part of their asset pool and may not even exist when your children need that support.”

As for Jill, she and Dave are moving forward together despite the trauma of losing more than half a million dollars.

“I wish I had known about how important it was to really discuss finances with my new partner. We were just focusing on our new love and assumed that everything was fine. He had no hesitation in agreeing to a pre-nuptial agreement because, as far as he was concerned, his divorce was done and dusted,” Jill said.

“I just want to urge other women to be careful. Even when you’re swept up in a romance, please get good financial and legal advice.

“If only I had taken the appropriate steps, I wouldn’t be in the mess I am now. I am still with Dave and still happily in love but things would be so different if I didn’t have to hand over my cash to his ex.”

*Names have been changed.

www.money-au.com

www.club-libido.com

www.auctiontraders.net

www.clublibido.com.au

Henry Sapiecha

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich perhaps up for the world’s costliest divorce

Roman Abramovich ended his second marriage with a reputed settlement of £150 million ($246m) – small change for a multibillionaire.

This time, the Russian oligarch and owner of Chelsea FC may not be so lucky, after announcing that he has separated from his third wife, Dasha Zhukova.

The couple, who married in 2008 and have two children, insisted the split was amicable, but they could get embroiled in the world’s costliest divorce if forced to untangle the tycoon’s £7 billion ($11.5b) fortune.

Mr Abramovich, 50, owns the football club, the second largest yacht in the world and several luxury properties, including a £60 million mansion in New York and a £50 million property in Kensington Palace Gardens.

Among his fleet of supercars is a Ferrari FXX prototype worth around £1.5 million and a Bugatti Veyron, priced at £2 million.

However, Ms Zhukova, an art collector who is 15 years Mr Abramovich’s junior.

In a joint statement, the couple said: “After 10 years together, the two of us have made the difficult decision to separate, but we remain close friends, parents and partners in the projects we developed together.”

Legal experts said they expected Mr Abramovich to have a prenuptial agreement in place and any divorce proceedings would be dealt with by a Russian court in order to protect his assets, much like his previous divorce, when he is understood to have ended his 16-year marriage to second wife Irina Vyacheslavovna Malandina at a cost of £150 million in Moscow in 2007

Details have remained hidden under Russia’s secretive legal system, but it is thought Ms Malandina was given a lump sum as well as four homes and provision for their five children.

Mr Abramovich and Miss Zhukova were first seen together in public in 2005.

The oligarch was still married to Ms Malandina, but their friendship strengthened and Miss Zhukova and her father, Alexander Zhukov, were invited to Mr Abramovich’s New Year party later that year.

Her father is an oil, metals and banking tycoon who owns a mansion block in Kensington, west London, as well as homes in New York and Moscow.

The couple married secretly around nine years ago. Their first child, Mr Abramovich’s sixth, Aaron Alexander, was born in December 2009 and daughter Leah Lou was born in April 2013, both in the US.

Mr Abramovich married his first wife, Olga Yurevna Lysova, in December 1987 but was divorced just three years later. He wed Ms Malandina in 1991, before he made his fortune in the Russian privatisation boom.

Raymond Tooth, a London divorce lawyer, said it was “inconceivable” that Mr Abramovich and Ms Zukhova would not have a pre-nup.

“He will have done a deal and will sort it out in Russia to avoid any claims in an English court,” he said.

The Telegraph, London

Henry Sapiecha

Conversations To Have Before You Get Married

Couple playing in water at sunset
Couple playing in water at sunset

You know exactly what they’re thinking with the glimpse of an eye, have weird personal jokes together and literally, have zero clue what you did before they came into your life — yep, you’re in love — and the future has never looked so bright.

However, without getting all Grinchy on you, there are certain conversations you should have before locking that love down.

According to leading relationship expert Dr Karen Phillip, and author of new book, OMG We’re Getting Married – 7 Essential things to know before we say I Do, increasingly, couples are finding themselves at breaking point — post-marriage — as a result of not discussing important issues before tying the knot and having children.

“There is this assumption, because a couple is so in love and know each other so well, that they are on the same page, but it is incredibly important to talk about your finances, career goals and whether you want kids plus a whole range of other things before getting married,” said Phillip.

Surprising, right? That a couple wouldn’t talk about the prospect of kids before getting married. But according to Phillip it is more common than we think.

The same goes for finances. “I see couples who have been married for over 10 years, that still don’t know what the other earns,” Phillip said.

So, why the silence?

“We’re marrying later, we’ve been very independent all our lives — it’s been your own money, your own career and your own goals — but when you become a couple, that all changes and what you spend affects the other person — and that’s something people struggle to accept and understand,” she said.

Russian_Girl_1_728_90

Phillip advises discussions around finance should begin when you start living together.

“Not only should you disclose what you’re earning but also what you’ve spent — so any debts — because once you’re married, whatever financial problems your partner gets into, well, you own half of them,” she said.

Phillip said a joint account is a good idea for things like bills, groceries and social outings while still depositing a small amount of money into your own private account for yourself.

And when it comes to kids, whether marriage is on the cards or not, having the conversation — and revisiting it regularly is imperative.

“It’s not simply about how many you want, and how many years apart they will be, but you should also be discussing parenting style, whether the child will be baptised and who will be the main parent,” Phillip said.

If your career is going to escalate, who is going to be the first point of call at daycare or school and also, can you afford to put the kids into daycare if you are both going back to work?

Observing how your partner’s family interacts with each other will also give you an idea of what kind of parent they’ll be.

“Whether they’re complacent, firm, loving or dismissive — that teaches you a lot about the parent you’re going to have by your side,” she said.

Hottest_Russian_728_90

And rather than assuming your partner is a mind reader, communication needs to continually evolve which in turn, will hopefully improve your relationship.

“Couples need to have date nights pre and post children. It’s usually only during these times, when you’re sitting alone with your partner over dinner, without any distractions like social media or the television, that you’re able to talk,” she said.

It’s here when there’s an opportunity to really pay attention to how the other person is feeling and what they’re thinking about.

“Couples who are a bit more logical might even list down what they plan to talk about to see where the other person is at. Sometimes you find that you are thinking differently about something,” Phillip said.

And if you’re able to do that regularly, without the infringement of friends around you all the time or social media always in your hand, the risk of future disagreements about the bigger issues will decrease.

club-libido-with-couple

Henry Sapiecha