"I have met my civil partner more than 14 years ago in UK. We got engaged while I was pregnant with our first child. The wedding was not a priority as healthy pregnancy, preparations for birth, and the move from the UK to Monaco for our wealth preservation were more important at that time. I was naïve to trust my partner and the father of our children to take care of our family and me no matter what happens between us… how the reality turned out to be different! He took advantage of the absence of protective legal framework for civil partners and basically kicked me out of our family home just because it was on his name..."
"My partner of 13 years told me himself during our separation that the laws here for women were appalling... I have gone through hell trying to secure my independent future with my child having spent all this time building a family in Monaco..."
"While I was breastfeeding and taking care of the kids and our family life and different homes (renovating, furnishing, decorating), my partner was able to work on his investment projects and grow, what I thought was, our common family wealth. I quit my job and a promising career to focus on family. During more than 10 years of our family partnership, my partner has been investing in lucrative projects around Europe. Monaco laws don't recognise this kind of family and time contribution just because we didn't get married. The unfairness of the situation caused me emotional break-down that kids had to observe. But even if you manage to overcome this betrayal, it is nearly impossible to build yourself from nothing in Monaco. The opportunities here are extremely limited, especially if you are not professionally fluent in French. "
"When my partner of many years sent me a Convocation to Monaco Tribunal for kids' custody, I asked a Monegasque lawyer about my rights, and he told me I had NONE as there are no laws protecting unmarried women in Monaco! My ex-partner was only too happy to fully capitalise on this fact. He also knew that my financial resources for legal fight were very limited and therefore, decided to keep the kids as a primary parent despite the fact that he never cared for them daily..."
"Our 10 years of common family life has been downgraded by him to an “episodique” status relationship. Understanding very well that by the absence of laws on civil partnerships, Monaco is protecting its “rich”, he has described the mother of his children as an opportunistic immigrant... I could never imagine the father of my children to fall so low in his morals just because he legally could."
"The kids are totally in shock why I can’t afford to take them to restaurants or holidays as before, while the father is traveling with them by private jets and yachts to luxury destinations. The negative effect on their psyche can not be ignored or underestimated."
"I can already see how my 5-year old son looks down on me because I am in his eyes "not successful" as I can't afford same things as daddy, although I have helped to build our business for 5 years while taking care of our son and doing administrative tasks, not even mentioning that it was my original business idea. I did sell my business before moving to Monaco with him and our son... I didn't go through Court to fight for appropriate child support. I was an emotional wreck when this happened so I accepted what he offered, which was totally unfair. I had to move out of Monaco and my son is with me practically full-time while I have to work at the same time to support him and myself."
"I am deeply troubled by my future and the future of my kids after this screwed up separation and custody fight in Monaco. I am sure that no matter what strength I showed to my kids, deep down they must have lost faith and reliance on support of their family members and family unit as a whole, as they have observed the attitude of their father towards their mother. I am happy though to have seen the real face of the man that I thought I could entrust my life with..."
"We have moved to Monaco for tax reasons. I am so happy we still had ties with UK, so I could bring the civil partnership case in England, bringing him to settlement."
"The legal costs were too much but I won some alimony for kids' maintenance. However, I have no support for proper accommodation and no right to and as a contributor to our family wealth."
"Although we were married, I could stay in our rented apartment only for the period of our kids' custody and separation hearing. I had to present proof of being their primary caretaker but also proof of my husband accumulated wealth during our union. That is a lot of material I did not have. Once the divorce was finalised, I had to move out our family apartment and find the means to afford a smaller place for the kids and me. It was a shocking, violent and deeply troubling time that will stay with me forever."
Please take care to have:
- Cash on your own if you move to Monaco. You must be the only one who has access to your accounts.
- Make copies of all expenses when times are good between you and your partner (hard to do as you trust him and have no reason to doubt he will take care of you and the kids no matter what – but DO IT)
- Have a secret bank box that only you know about - this is where you keep financial documentation as well as cash
- Research which lawyer in Monaco you would use in case things go wrong
If things go wrong:
- Act quickly – hire your lawyer right away
- Give your lawyer the documentation of your joint living expenses
- Remove anything personal from your home and put it in storage or you may lose it. Bailiffs may show up with locksmith and police and take inventory of your apartment and take anything your husband has an invoice of – even if it is yours. Especially be sure your computer is in your own name and you paid for it yourself or the bailiff may take your computer and give it to your husband. Losing your computer will have serious consequences as your husband will have access to all your data and you will be without it.
- Be prepared your home will be bugged, and that you will be followed. So be very careful of what you do and who you associate yourself with, baring in mind that everything you do and say WILL be used against you in court – even a positive turns to negative in the court room – you will be surprised!
I know it is impossible to live in such mistrustful framework in the loving partnership, however, women DO have the intuition when things are NOT working out but often refuse to listen to it. I urge women to protect themselves and be prepared for the most undesirable eventuality."
"This is what I learned from my bitter divorce proceedings:
You can only get financial support BASED on what you can document. What this means is that if you have no documentation of your living standard (for at least one year prior – best much longer) then you will be given the bare minimum which you are unable to live off of. So key for women here is – my advice – document every dime spent – and get a lawyer immediately – take action very quickly before money can be moved, so at least your monthly support is set during the separation period. The higher the amount you can get during the separation period the more likely it is that your husband will want to settle quickly. If you are on the low budget – which you will be if you have no financial documentation (bank statements, credit cards statements, vacation bills, cars, etc.) – then he will try to keep you in the separation state for 5 years (which is the cut off time in Monaco) where you will live on almost nothing and for sure not be able to afford legal help – trying to break you and ware you out.
Legal help is expensive – at least 30.000 euros upfront – count on 400.000 euros and up in total.
The good thing about Monaco is that not paying spousal support is criminal offense here, which is unique for Monaco. The same goes for child support – also after separation when divorced."
"Having experienced the unfairness in separation here in Monaco, I have only one advice for my daughter: Don’t become a mother! In this society, it is not worth investing your time, body and effort into family and home, married or not. Why should she? My advice for her would be: if you want to become a parent, make sure you have developed your career (even if it takes you 60 years), have stabilised your income, saved some or substantial funds in your bank account, built no reliance on a male partner or built independence from any eventuality that may happen in your partnership, and then best to adopt from the third world! Otherwise, don’t become a parent.
For my son, I would also like him to grow up far away from the influences of these egotistical values reinforced by culture and laws here. But can I prevent him from this fully when his dad enjoys those attitudes as much as his tax avoidance status?"
"When my ex-partner included in “our” agreement regulating separation and joint custody the paragraph stating that I am not allowed to date any man for 2 years (as if “to protect our child from trauma”), I thought he was joking! Only to learn that even married women in Monaco after divorce cannot remarry for 310 days by LAW!!! This doesn’t apply to a man. What is this??? How does one call this in modern society???
I had to agree because I had no rights whatsoever to negotiate, risking to lose my child and basic maintenance for him and me. However, my economic reality and time sharing is such that I couldn’t enter into a relationship with another man anyway. I constantly risk and fear renegotiations with my ex on worse terms for me. Even after the separation, my ex controls my life because I put the interest of our young child ahead of mine for now. I can’t do otherwise. And that’s the curse of the mother and the maternal instinct today."
"Absence of a free union recognition in Monaco can lead to the situation of psychological isolation, harassment and abuse towards the unrecognised partner. Can a union partner be considered really independent, separate and at liberty to walk away from an abusive situation, if she/he thinks about the well-being of small kids and has no other protection by law and society? What if she is heavily pregnant with another baby? What if she has no sufficient linguistic skills to stay and to find a job in the Principality?"