If you haven’t been kept under a rock your whole life, you’re likely familiar with actor and comedian John Cleese. Part of the infamous Monty Python crew, he starred in films such as Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, and television shows such as Faulty Towers. However, are you familiar with what has happened to Mr. Cleese financially over the past few years?
When Cleese divorced his third wife she ended up with a divorce settlement that quite literally made her richer than him, despite the fact that they were married for only 16 years and had produced no children.
Divorce is, unfortunately, a fixture of modern society, and people of both sexes need to know how they can protect their personal finances in case of a divorce. After all, these days more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, so not preparing yourself financially for it is engaging is some rather wishful thinking. So how best to protect yourself and your personal finances, should you be unfortunate enough to have to go through one?
If you are the higher-earning party, get a pre-nup prior to marriage; this simply cannot be overemphasized. Cleese himself, already married to wife number four, incidentally, was told that he should have her sign a prenuptial agreement, he initially didn’t want to, despite having just been taken to the proverbial cleaners. He only reluctantly had one written up when his legal team essentially insisted. Even though prenups can be challenged or modified in court, if you are the party bringing more assets to the relationship, it is irresponsible of you not to solicit a prenuptial agreement from a potential spouse.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should protect assets you have in joint accounts with your spouse, and also begin to actively monitor your credit, if things become acrimonious between you two. This way, you will prevent them from absconding with the totality of your shared funds, or ruining your credit if they are feeling malicious. If you need further information on how to do this properly, speak with a qualified financial planner.
So if you find yourself considering marriage and either have significant assets to protect or suspect you might have them in the future, you owe it to yourself to look into the legalities surrounding prenuptial agreements, and other thorny issues related to personal finance. Failure to do so can end up seriously impacting your life in a negative way, should you ever be faced with a vindictive or greedy spouse; protect yourself!