Since the changes to Legal Aid in 2013 and the increase in court fees, there has been a rise in people attempting to issue divorce proceedings themselves, without having the benefit of legal advice. In many of those cases, the understandable stress and pressure of trying to resolve their own divorce, along with a lack of information available from the courts, means that tying up the matrimonial finances is often overlooked.
Not everyone is aware that whilst the Decree Absolute brings and end to the marriage, it does not dismiss the financial claims that either party can bring against the other.
Whichever route couples take to reach an agreement about how their assets should be divided, to ensure that their financial settlement is binding, the agreement should be converted into a court order. That order can be sent to the court at any time after the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi of divorce, for approval by a Judge.
The benefit of having a financial court order is that once it is approved, it makes the settlement binding, whilst also dismissing any future claims that either party could bring against the other. It provides peace of mind and certainty for the future. If a financial court order is not finalised, then all financial claims remain open and can still be pursued even after the divorce has been concluded. For example, it may be that the division of pensions was not considered at the time of the divorce. If a financial court order has not been entered into then an application could still be made, asking the court to consider a fair division of the pensions. There is no time limit for bringing a claim for financial relief where there is no financial court order, therefore claims can be made years after the divorce.
If the Decree Absolute has been granted, it’s not too late for there to be a financial court order to address matrimonial finances matters. The court can make a financial consent order at any time after the date of Decree Nisi.
For further information about how we can help you, or if you would like to discuss financial court orders, please contact our family law specialist, Simon Nellar by telephone on 01904 528383 or via his email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like guidance in relation to any area of family law, please contact a member of our family team to arrange a free, non-obligation meeting, to discuss your options.