There is a common misconception that a divorce will finalise all financial matters arising from the marriage. Whilst a divorce does bring an end to a marriage itself it does not also bring an end to the financial obligations spouses have to each other.
Anyone seeking a divorce should also ask the Court to approve any agreement reached by lodging an agreed Consent Order. Such an Order can deal with any income, capital and pension to be distributed. The Order should provide for a clean break so that no claim can be brought by either party to the marriage in the future.
There are various methods to assist parties’ in reaching an agreement and your Solicitor will be able to advise you of the options available.
The only way to ensure an agreement reached is binding is to have it embodied in a Consent Order. As such it is important that legal advice is obtained even if an agreement has been reached directly between you and your ex-spouse.
If an agreement cannot be reached then either party has the right to claim financial provision and to bring proceedings at Court. These proceedings are complex and will result in a Court Order determining the finances.
Importantly, the right to bring proceedings at Court does not come to an end on divorce unless a Court Order has already been obtained.
As such it is vital that a Court Order providing for a clean break is obtained even if there are no assets of the marriage. If no order exists you could be left vulnerable in the future to a claim from your ex-spouse even in circumstances where your assets have been accrued post marriage and even if one or both of you have remarried.
If you wish to find out more please contact a member of our Family team for further advice.