From the date of the Decree Nisi (the first stage of the divorce), the Petitioner to a divorce must wait a period of six weeks and a day until they can apply for it to be made Absolute (the final decree). Failing such, the Respondent may after a further 3 months make their own application. Parties to a divorce often want it to be passed as quickly as possible yet may be advised to wait until such time as their financial settlement is resolved, but why?
The reason is to protect your financial position should your spouse pass away in the period between divorce and securing a final financial order. Once the Decree Absolute is obtained, the legal relationship between you and your spouse is ended and as a result, you are no longer their next of kin. This has serious repercussions in respect of the rules of intestacy or if there is a will in place, you are automatically omitted. The effect can be particularly damaging to any claim you may have in respect to your former spouse’s pension.
Whilst trying to do all you can to protect your own position, Clients often ask how best to ensure their spouse in the same period would not benefit from their own demise. The best possible way to ensure this is, at the time of separation, to re-consider your own will or if you do not have one, arrange for a will to be prepared as quickly as possible to reflect your current wishes.
If you would like to arrange an introductory appointment to discuss divorce or any other family matter, then please contact Family Solicitor Andrew Foulds.