In the last week, a wife has been given the right to have her application for a financial order to be heard despite the fact that the parties to the marriage had been through a divorce over 20 years ago.The wife brought her claim 28 years after she and husband separated.At the time of the divorce the parties were both in a poor financial state; both were reliant on benefits and neither had any assets.Both the husband and wife went on to form new relationships and have children.Following their divorce the husband however went on to become very successful.The wife has now issued a claim seeking a capital sum and maintenance from the husband, and has been given the right to have her claim heard.
You may find this case surprising – it was to me but perhaps not for the same reason as you may be thinking.What many people going through a divorce fail to realise and what I frequently have to remind those clients who can’t see the point in obtaining a final order when there is nothing to fight about, is that until the court does make an order and potential claims are dismissed, the right to make a claim against your former spouse remains ‘live’. Whilst the success of any claim will perhaps diminish the longer you have been separated, why would you take that chance?The husband in this case will surely be regretting his failure not to obtain a final order.
I have come across many divorce cases where the parties have relatively few assets, have agreed how their assets should be split or have already split the assets before they sought the divorce. When finances are perhaps tight you may not wish to incur the extra expense of having an order drafted reflecting an agreement you have already reached or an order dismissing any future claims either of you may have against each other.However, you should consider what would happen if you suddenly were to become far more successful in your chosen career with a much higher income than you previously had, or existing assets went up significantly in value. Correspondingly what if your former spouse was to suffer a significant depreciation in assets they retained from the marriage or became ill and was no longer able to earn a reasonable income?If financial matters remain unresolved, there is a possibility that a former spouse could make a claim against you.
It is important to make sure that you have dealt with all issues at the time of your divorce.At The Law House we are often able to offer a fixed fee to embody an agreement into an order which can be approved by the court and will prevent future claims against you.If you are in the process of divorcing or considering divorce, and would like good practical expert advice, please contact me, Sara Barnes on 01245 809 556 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To see more of Sara’s blogs go to http://www.thelawhouse.com/author/sara-barnes/