In Part 2 of this Special Report on Money & Divorce, Dato’ Fion Wong, a partner of Shang & Co who is actively involved in matrimonial and family law, elaborates on the eligibility of nuptials and divorce settlements in Malaysia.
A: Are there any other legally binding agreements that couples should enter into before marriage, during marriage, or even after divorcing?
DF: There are no specific names, just what you want to come up with, and how you draft it. So, there isn’t any specific name of a document. Many people now actually seek lawyers’ advice before deciding whether they want to divorce. We also see more men seeking our advice as to what can be done before getting into marriage, but not women. Out of 20 to 30 men, I only see one woman asking about how she can protect herself during the marriage. So, I think when it comes to marriage, women are very vulnerable. I would recommend consulting a lawyer to see how certain assets should be parked, and how money should be utilized to ensure that if anything were to happen, it will not be used against you.
A: Do you think women tend to neglect this because men are traditionally the breadwinners, or command more pay?
DF: Nowadays, you can see that both men and women have quite similar incomes. But when it comes to marriage, women are too busy planning the wedding and honeymoon, while the men will silently plan out their finances. It’s understandable that when you’re so busy with your wedding, such the dress, you forgot about the important…
A: That’s true. I think we, women, are very good at budgeting for weddings.
DF: Yes, women are very good at budgeting for the wedding, about the people to invite, and the dress. We tend to forget about the future, while men are so logical and so smart; they notice that this is the first thing they should plan out.