A marriage is a union of two people for the rest of their lives. However, it may jeopardise when a couple decides to call it quits. Though the emotional loss is something one can live with, the reality of financial loss after being alone is something one lives with forever.

Sometime back we were approached by a lady. Her husband had left her and their only son in the United Kingdom. He later came back to India and remarried.

The lady sought financial settlement advice. We represented her in the financial settlement during the divorce proceedings. We obtained all the details of husband’s Indian properties and made a report which was accepted in the UK court.

The report included original property papers from the revenue authorities and a calculated share of each owner. We also translated the documents to English from the vernacular language as it is necessary in case the records are not in the official language.

The wife and son later got 50% share in all the properties belonging to her husband.

Following are a few things to ask yourself before reaching a smart divorce settlement:-

Where are your Financial Records?

After a divorce, in most cases, the wife is financially naive and therefore gets a raw deal. In a marriage, the husband often takes care of household financial matters, even if the wife is also earning. Thus both the partners must keep accurate financial records, clear titles of all the high-value items in the house. They should credit their salaries/ income into a joint account to run household expenses and also discuss and distribute their finances and financial responsibilities equally from the beginning of their marriage.

What’s your level of awareness?

No single secular law governs marriages in India. There are separate community laws for marriage, and divorce is governed by the particular law under which the union had been registered. However, all the personal laws are superseded in the cases of marriages registered under Special Marriages Act.

Are you practical enough?

No matter how beautiful a relationship was when it ends it ends a mess. Therefore, money matters should be at the centre of the whole process if one wants to get a fair settlement out of a broken marriage. Experts say that one should think financially and act legally to get a fair deal. The best idea is to take the whole process as a business deal, where two partners are going their separate ways.

Do you know your share?

To secure a fair deal at the end of a relationship one must have a bright idea about his/her share before going for a claim in the courtroom. The Indian law does not recognize anything as marital property. A woman can only claim for all the gifts, including land, property, jewellery, and appliances, gifted by her parents or in-laws at and during the time of marriage.

Where are all records and their copies maintained?

One must have the proofs ready as certificates, and other investment details are useful during the divorce case. The documents include:

  • Marriage certificates
  • Tax returns and salary slips for both spouses
  • Bank and credit card details
  • Mutual Funds, Stock and bonds details
  • Powers of attorney Document
  • All big-ticket purchases records
  • Insurance policies copy if any
  • Outstanding debts, home, car and credit card loans documents.

Finally? Do you know that professional help can make a difference?

Always go for a lawyer for the legal aspects and a financial planner to take care of your money matters. A professional can always get you a better a deal as he/she knows the nitty gritty of the legal aspects. Do consult with the lawyer and financial planner before taking any step of any sort.