Does Britain play fair when it comes to divorce? What do people think of current divorce proceedings? Should air miles and Bitcoins be included in divorce settlements?
A nationally representative survey commissioned by Blaser Mills in conjunction with YouGov has asked British adults whether they thought spouses are likely to hide their wealth from one another, if custody of a pet can make or break a settlement and how family inheritance should be treated when it comes to divorce.
Undercover assets: is hiding how much you are really worth common in divorce?
The data has revealed that more than one-third (36%) of people would be prepared to hide assets from their spouse to ensure they wouldn’t have to give them as much during a divorce, if they knew that they would not get caught. These findings are largely consistent across the respondents, with 45-54 year olds being most likely at 44%, whilst 55 and overs are least likely (32%), and no significant differences between men or women.
63% of respondents were of the opinion that people often hide the true extent of their savings and assets from their partner during a divorce, whilst 53% believe that people do so in anticipation of a divorce.
Keeping it in the family: divorce and inheritance
The data revealed differing views on the treatment of inherited wealth during divorce. Nearly two-thirds (64%) feel that money inherited from parents pre-marriage should be strictly off-limits when it comes to a divorce settlement, but this drops to 39% for wealth inherited during a marriage. There is also a divergence when it comes to gender – 71% of women believe money inherited from parents pre-marriage shouldn’t be included compared to only 56% of men.
Woman’s best friend? Pets and divorce
Only 37% of men, compared to 57% of women, would be prepared to fight over custody of a pet as part of a divorce settlement. The biggest pet lovers are found to be in Yorkshire and the Humber, where 54% of respondents would be prepared to fight for custody of a pet (compared to the North East where this falls to 38%).
Other findings included:
- Online assets overlooked – 55% of people are unaware that today’s divorce settlements include online assets, such as airmiles or virtual currencies like Bitcoin.
- Gifts – Half of respondents think that gifts given between spouses shouldn’t be included within divorce settlements and around the same percentage (53%) also believe presents from people outside of the marriage should sit outside of the wealth pot.
As quoted in The Times, Jolene Hutchison, Head of the Family and Divorce team remarked:
“These results were consistent across Britain, and while men are often painted as the villain of the piece when it comes to financial disclosure, the data revealed that hiding assets is something both men and women are equally likely to consider.”
In addition, Jolene further commented:
“Sadly, when relationships break down, people can be so intent on punishing their ex, or securing their own financial future, they do not play fair financially. However, the law is unequivocal: concealing assets is considered contempt of Court and will result in a significant fine or in extreme cases, a prison sentence.”
“It is notable that 55% of GB adults don’t realise that online assets are treated exactly the same as those in the ‘real world’. Although not a common practice yet, digital currencies and online wealth do offer a way for unscrupulous spouses to try and hide wealth less easy to see or find.”
If you would like to get in touch with Jolene Hutchison, Partner and Head of Family and Divorce, please contact her on 01494 478603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org