Predatory Marriages – How to protect yourself and your family

Chris Broome – Chartered Financial Planner

Gold Digger. Noun. A person who forms relationships with others purely to extract money from them.

We’ve all heard this term but have you or a loved one ever encountered one?

I’m disappointed to say that both personally (within my family) and corporately (for our clients) I’ve come across a gold digger or two – ones whose sole intentions were to financially benefit from a relationship.

Predatory Marriages

The risks of a Predatory Marriage

  1. Financial exploitation: The predatory partner may take control of the victim’s assets, bank accounts, or credit cards, leaving the victim financially dependent on the predator.
  2. Physical and emotional abuse: The predatory partner may use physical or emotional abuse to control and manipulate the victim.
  3. Isolation: The predatory partner may limit the victim’s contact with friends, family, or other support systems, making it more difficult for the victim to leave the relationship.
  4. Loss of autonomy: The victim may lose the ability to make their own decisions and may feel trapped in the relationship.
  5. Legal issues: If the victim is an elderly person, or has a disability, the predatory partner may have legal authority over the victim’s medical decisions, living arrangements, and other important matters.
  6. Psychological harm: The victim may experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues as a result of the abuse and manipulation they have experienced.

Helping a family member who has entered a suspected predatory marriage

If you suspect a family member or loved one has entered into a predatory marriage, it’s important you raise your concerns with them, and try to encourage an annulment.

If the person in question doesn’t have adequate mental capacity to do so, you can make an application to the Court of Protection.

How to mitigate this risk

There are several steps that can be taken to protect against a predatory marriage:

  1. Be aware of the signs: Know the warning signs of a predatory relationship, such as manipulation, control, and isolation.
  2. Trust your instincts: If something feels off about the relationship, it’s important to listen to your intuition and seek help.
  3. Seek advice from professionals: Consult with a lawyer, financial advisor, or mental health professional if you have concerns about a relationship.
  4. Educate yourself: Learn about the legal and financial implications of marriage, and understand your rights and options if you decide to leave the relationship.
  5. Have a support system: Surround yourself with friends and family who you can trust and who will support you in making decisions about your relationship.
  6. Get a prenuptial agreement: Consider getting a prenuptial agreement to protect your assets in case of divorce.
  7. Be cautious when entering into a relationship with someone who is significantly older or has a significant age gap, or who has recently suffered a loss or is going through a vulnerable period in their life.
  8. Seek help: if you or someone you know is in a predatory marriage, reach out to domestic violence hotlines, support groups, or other organizations that can provide assistance.

Next steps

If you would like more information on how to protect your estate and personal wealth, please speak to one of our team who would be more than happy to introduce you to one of our legal partners.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.