People often believe that when you get divorced and have your Decree Absolute you are protected financially. The truth is that matrimonial finances are an entirely separate area of law. Even if you are divorced your ex-spouse could make a financial claim against you at any time in the future, even if you re-marry.
Some might recall the news stories about Dale Vince, who when he divorced certainly did not expect his ex-wife to try and claim £1.9m from him 20 years later! Despite having remarried and accumulated his wealth long after his divorce, he agreed to pay his ex-wife £300,000 to settle her claim. He called publicly for a time limit on when an ex-spouse can make a claim. Still today, no time limit exists.
However, Dale could have avoided paying his ex-spouse anything at all if he had dealt with his finances at the time of his divorce and had in place a financial Consent Order.
A Consent Order is like a contract between you and your ex-partner setting out how your matrimonial finances are to be settled - it is approved by the Court and is a legally binding Court Order. It protects you both from further claims against each other, both now and in the future.
The court will always encourage parties to reach an agreement over their finances between themselves and to do so amicably as possible. If an agreement can be reached, whether between the parties independently, through negotiations in mediation or through the parties’ respective solicitors, it is important that this agreement is recorded within a Consent Order.
It is, therefore, essential that the Consent Order is correctly drafted to reflect what has been agreed by the parties and to provide for a clean break if appropriate.
If you are divorced or divorcing it is important that you deal with your financial separation as you never know what will happen in the future. If you are unsure about your situation or need advice about your matrimonial finances, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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