12 May Divorce and Financial Claims – Decree Absolute does not end financial claims
Genette Gale our Family Solicitor explains when financial claims arising from a marriage end. “I often see people who still mistakenly believe that Decree Absolute, which is granted at the end of divorce proceedings, stops their former spouse making financial claims against them however, this is incorrect. The financial claims you each have against one another, due to getting married do not end until:
- A financial court order has been approved by the court which states when the financial claims are cancelled and Decree Absolute has been obtained. A financial court order can be obtained by agreement, such order is known as a financial consent order. If an agreement cannot be reached, a financial court order can be obtained by Financial Remedy Court proceedings taking place which will involve court hearings. Call me on 01747 857303 to find out how a financial court order can be obtained.
- If you or your former spouse remarry then the ability to pursue some of the financial claims may be lost. Advice would need to be sought to find out which financial claims may have been cancelled by the remarriage. Call me on 01747 857303 to find out. For example, a financial claim by your former spouse, against your pension can still be potentially made, even if they have remarried. This is why it is important to obtain a financial court order which will set out when financial claims will end. To avoid problems arising in the future. Call me on 01747 857303 to find out more.
You also need to be aware, although it’s not something you may want to think about, that if you die after Decree Absolute was granted but there was no financial court ending your former spouse’s ability to claim against your estate, they may be able to make a claim against your estate. This will be difficult for your family left behind.
What financial claims can be made if there is a divorce?
The following are the potential claims that can be made, although not all may apply as everything will depend on the circumstances of the individual couple.
- Property Adjustment Order – The court can make orders about property which is owned either jointly by you both or individually. For example, the court can make an order for the sale of property, for a property to be transferred to the other person, for the sale of property to be delayed until a point in the future etc. The court can also if the family home is a rental property decide who is to have the tenancy.
- Lump Sum Order – An order for one of you to pay a lump sum to the other person either in one lump sum or a series of lump sum payments or a lump sum by way of instalments.
- Pension Sharing Order or pension compensation sharing order – For one of you to receive a percentage share of the other person’s pension fund. The percentage share will be taken out of the person’s pension fund and put into a pension fund in the other person’s name.
- Spousal Maintenance Order (Periodical Payments Order) – An order for one of you to pay a regular sum of money to the other person to enable them to have sufficient income to meet their outgoings.
- Pension Attachment Order or Pension Compensation Attachment Order– These orders are rarely made now due to new pension freedoms. The pension attachment order would provide for the pension company to pay a certain amount of income to the other person, once the pension went into payment.
- Financial claims can be made for children as well.
When should you apply for Decree Absolute?
There are financial consequences of applying for Decree Absolute you should, therefore, obtain legal advice before applying to court for Decree Absolute. Also, if you are the respondent in the divorce, you should get legal advice straight away before Decree Absolute is applied for by the Petitioner.
If you are separating or getting divorced or are divorced it is always important to get legal advice about the financial implications and whether financial claims can be made by your spouse or former spouse. If you would like to get advice please contact me, Genette Gale on 01747 852377 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I am a Family Solicitor and Collaborative Lawyer at Rutters Solicitors in Dorset. We have offices in Shaftesbury, Gillingham, Dorset and Sturminster Newton”