The introduction of no-fault divorce earlier this year has led to a significant increase in couples applying for divorce by themselves and without involving lawyers. This is generally a good thing, however, it is important that spouses are aware that there are considerable risks to them if they sort out their divorce (which is just the ending of the marriage) without also dealing with the financial claims that arise with divorce.
Recent data from the Court Service indicates there has been a very considerable drop in the number of applications being made for a financial Order. This may be because there is now a 20-week wait for a conditional order to be granted in the divorce (what used to be called a Decree Nisi) as a financial order can only be submitted only after the conditional order is made. However, it may also be because spouses who apply for their divorce without any legal advice may wrongly think the final order (the old Decree Absolute) deals with their financial claims. It does not.
And because the financial claims between ex-spouses don’t expire after a certain number of years and are “live” forever, people may be surprised in the future that claims are being made against them.
So just because the spouses have obtained a final order and brought the marriage to an end, this does not mean they have achieved a “clean break” between them. Either one in future could start a financial claim for a share of assets, pension or claim maintenance. Or one of the spouses may move on with their life, overlooking the fact there may be a joint liability they are responsible for such as a mortgage on a jointly owned property.
This article was brought to you by Cyrus Medora, one of our family solicitors at Kidd Rapinet Solicitors Slough. You can speak to any of the family lawyers across our other offices in Aylesbury, Canary Wharf, Farnham, High Wycombe Maidenhead or Slough, using the form provided. Please use the links provided to find more information on divorce or separation, child arrangements and other areas of family law.
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