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Relationship Over: Untangling the Threads

In our first guest contribution to Hundle Insights, Diana Chambers, renowned Family Wealth Mentor™, shares her thoughts on the challenging topic of divorce.

Written by Diana Chambers, The Family Wealth Mentor™

Relationship Over: Untangling the Threads

22 April 2024

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Separation and divorce are challenging at the best of times, with significant wealth often magnifying the issues that surface. Finances and separation of assets are just one topic. Other equally important concerns are for any children and other relatives who are impacted, social and collegial networks, and the wellbeing of the couple getting divorced. It is typically a hot mess.

No one operates at their best when under duress, and divorce is one of the most stressful experiences anyone can go through. When happy and fulfilled, we may be generous and giving but when challenged we may revert to old and often unconscious patterns of, for example, scarcity and competition.

I advise preparing for the possibility of divorce at the outset of a committed relationship, when the partners are happy, divorce is not anticipated, and understandings are kind and broadly fair to both partners. In this state of generosity and appreciation, execute a pre- or post-marital agreement, the rules for which vary by country. In the UK, such agreements while not legally binding are typically upheld by a court if the agreement is fair and other specific requirements have been met. If you would like to execute such an agreement, consult with a family lawyer to ensure that it is in a form that would be upheld in court.

A pre- or post-marital agreement puts a moral stake in the ground calling each partner to live up to their commitments when they signed the agreement. And it will benefit any children who will be experiencing the shadow of the separation and divorce because the fallout will be relatively contained if potentially contentious issues are already agreed and off the table. I had a pre-martial agreement when I married and was grateful for it when my marriage ended in 2013. My husband at the time and I had very little left to discuss financially, so our separation and divorce were relatively straightforward.

If a pre- or post-marital agreement is not in place, there is a more to be navigated when a relationship ends, with my focus here on the separation of financial assets. I frequently say that whatever anyone does or says regarding money makes perfect sense to them given their life experience. The relative ease with which a couple can agree on the separation of their financial assets will reflect the awareness each partner has about the role money plays in their individual and shared lives, their insights into the drivers behind their financial behaviour, and the degree to which any old wounds have been healed.

Given your life experiences, what do you and your partner want and expect from money? What are your beliefs about money? Is it to be spent/saved or shared/for self? What does money represent for you – freedom, safety, happiness, love, power, and more – and can it really deliver this? How aligned are the two of you? What is significant for you financially and what is significant for your partner? This article can be a prompt to invite you – whether you are single or in a relationship – to explore what money means to you and, if you have a partner, to address any differences in perspective with them now.

Money carries a great deal of weight. Not only may we equate money with our survival – if we live from a place of scarcity rather than believing there will always be enough for us – but also we may charge it with our hopes, desires, and intentions. If we place such emphasis on money to meet our fundamental needs and desires, often unconsciously, we will likely fight bitterly to claim all we can with little regard to the needs of the others caught in the dynamic of separation and divorce. This same fighting behaviour might also represent a desire to be compensated for a seemingly intolerable loss and to make the former partner “pay” in the process.

Yet if at least one partner can bring love for and appreciation of the other into the dynamic, inviting both to operate from their best selves despite the end of the relationship, it can shed light on a painful situation and help to identify creative ways forward for the benefit of both partners and especially any shared children. If both partners are financially stable and well-provided for, I encourage my clients to place greater emphasis on protecting their relationships with their children and the people closest to them than on trying to garner more wealth from the remnants of the relationship.

An invaluable skill in families of wealth is the ability to talk about it constructively including and most especially when significant decisions are being made. Too often we try to avoid such “difficult conversations”, yet they are essential at the time of separation and divorce. And engaging in them is a skill that can be learned. Initiating such conversations requires courage and they are best addressed in a spirit of curiousity about yourself and the other and with a great deal of compassion for both of you. The initial preparatory steps for such a conversation are to explore your own relationship with money, so you are aware what you are bringing to the table, and then to reflect empathetically on what drives your partner’s relationship to money.

There is no one way to approach divorce and each couple will express their unique nuances in the process. But the greater clarity each of us has at the outset of a relationship into both ourselves – who we are, what makes us tick, what role money plays in our life – and into our partner and their relationship with money, the better prepared we are going to be.

Diana Chambers is a highly skilled Family Wealth Mentor™ addressing the human dimensions of wealth and helping her clients to develop their Financial EQ, so they manage their money in emotionally intelligent ways. To learn more about Diana see her profile at The Marque and her website

To go deeper into this and other Financial EQ topics, Diana can be contacted at or +41-76-272-3632.

Copyright © Diana Chambers, 2024.