Many divorcing couples are under the misconception that once their marriage has been dissolved and Decree Absolute granted, that is the conclusion of all matters arising from their divorce. This is not the case.
Even where parties have agreed as to how the matrimonial assets are to be divided, it is strongly advisable to secure a Final Financial Order. This is a legally binding document which sets out the arrangements for the division of capital assets, liabilities, pensions and income. This means that if there is a change in your financial circumstances in the future or your former spouse changes their mind regarding any agreement, there is no possibility of them making a claim.
Many people do not proceed with securing a Final Financial Order for the following reasons:-
- We don’t have anything to share – it is still advisable to secure an Order. This will be a very straightforward process and precludes a potential financial claim years after the divorce has been concluded.
- We trust each other – obtaining a Consent Order does not imply that you distrust each other. You are simply protecting yourselves from any claim should there be a change in your circumstances.
- We don’t want to delay the divorce – there is no reason why if matters are agreed the divorce should be delayed. The Consent Order can be submitted in the 6 week cooling off period between Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute.
- We don’t want to make a claim against each other – people do change their minds as time goes on and a Clean Break Order should still be obtained.
I have experienced numerous cases where several years following conclusion of the divorce, one party has decided to make a financial claim against the other. Securing a Financial Order at the time of your divorce will avoid this. It is a straightforward process. Basic financial information will be necessary and a Consent Order will be sent to the Court. These documents are considered by the Judge and if satisfied the agreement is fair, the Order will be approved. Securing such an Order provides certainty for both parties.
If you need further advice please contact a member of our family team.