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Does Divorce Bring to an End All Financial Claims of a Marriage? By Katie-lee Pearson, Solicitor

 

Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult and stressful times of someone’s life. We have found in our work that there are a lot of common misconceptions about the divorce process, including whether or not the divorce brings to an end both spouses’ financial claims.

 

What is a Decree Absolute?

The Decree Absolute is the final Decree within divorce proceedings, which actually dissolves the marriage. Once this is granted, spouses are divorced.

Since April 2018, spouses have been able to obtain a divorce online.  The Ministry of Justice do not intend that the online service will replace the existing paper-based application at present, but suggest that the online service provides a quicker, easier service.

However, in attempting to simplify the divorce process, without legal advice from a solicitor, many applicants may be unaware that their spouses may be able to make a financial claim at any time in the future.

There is no time limit on when a spouse can issue a financial claim. Spouses are able to bring financial claims years after separation or divorce. It is a common misconception that Decree Absolute of divorce brings all matters to an end.

There are various ways for financial issues of the marriage to be resolved:

  • Agreement between spouses;
  • Agreement reached through solicitors correspondence;
  • Agreement reached through mediation;
  • Agreement reached using collaborative law;
  • Issuing court proceedings.

 

How can a spouse protect their financial position in the future?

Even if spouses have agreed on the division of finances, unless the agreement has been approved by the Courts, either spouse could make a claim for resolution of financial matters in the future.

The only way to avoid a claim in the future, is to obtain a court order. If spouses have reached a financial agreement, the agreement should be recorded in a Consent Order which will need to be approved by the court. If parties do not have any current assets to divide, it is recommended that a Clean Break Order is submitted to the court for approval. A Clean Break Order would ensure that neither spouse can make a financial claim in the future, which is particularly important if one spouse’s wealth increases significantly post divorce.

 

What is the remarriage trap?

If a person re-marries, they cannot make an application to the court for financial relief. This means a person may lose all their financial claims of the marriage. It will depend on what you have put in your divorce petition and whether you were the petitioner or respondent as to whether you fall into this trap.

 

If you would like to discuss any aspect of divorce or financial matters and need advice from a solicitor, please contact our dedicated family team on 01325 281111.

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