Family law solicitor, Donna Rose discusses the ramifications of not obtaining a financial order during divorce or civil partnership dissolution proceedings.
Since April 2022 we have had a “no-fault” divorce process in England and Wales. This has thankfully removed the need for couples to hurl mud at each other to achieve a divorce. Now, the process to file for divorce or civil partnership dissolution is quite straightforward, with the Petition being electronically filed with the Court. This cleaner process has meant that many people are now dealing with this themselves without lawyer’s involvement in the understandable desire to save costs.
However, we must never forget that being divorced does not end the matrimonial financial ties, it merely legally ends the marriage.
The Courts are, however, not proactive in relation to finances. It is perfectly possible for a couple to simply divorce and not resolve the financial issues, including jointly owned property, pensions, and potential spousal maintenance. Couples even remarry without having finalised the financial issues from their first marriage.
What could happen if you don’t sort the finances?
There are pitfalls in not dealing with the financial aspects once and for all. For a party receiving a divorce Petition legally termed the Respondent, if they remarry without having made a formal application to the Court for the finances to be considered, it is an absolute bar to bringing proceedings at any time in the future. Their financial position is, therefore, completely compromised.
In addition, if divorce proceedings are finalised, in the unfortunate event that one party were to die, the survivor would not be a spouse and therefore would not stand to benefit from any Widow/Widower’s benefit from any pension of the deceased, which may be a considerable financial loss.
What is a financial order?
A financial order within divorce proceedings, which can be dealt with by consent removing the need for anyone attending Court, is a legally binding document which definitively sets out the financial division between divorcing couples. This includes any property, pensions, savings, and spousal maintenance. A “Clean Break” order sets out that neither party can make any claim against the other in the future, including against the estate of the other person if they die.
It is so important to ensure that you come out of the divorce knowing that you are both legally and financially separated from your former spouse as it could save you potential upset and stress in the future.
Do you need help with financial arrangements?
Our specialist family law team can guide you through the process and ensure that you resolve your financial arrangements following a separation as amicably as possible. As members of Resolution, we believe that with the right information and support, many couples can reach an agreement on their own. For this, we recommend our fixed-fee meeting, which is where one of our specialist family lawyers will explain where you stand legally and what are your potential next steps. Some people may need more support than this. If this is the case, we offer family mediation sessions, as well as using the full force of the court when this is in your best interests.
If you would like to book an initial fixed-fee meeting with one of the team, please call 020 8771 5254, or contact us through our website.