Are you divorced without a clean break?
When it comes to divorce proceedings one of the most important steps is to ensure that financial orders are obtained to limit the scope of any further claims from an ex-partner. Ensuring that a financial order is obtained is now more important than ever as many individuals now are acquiring wealth as business owners, entrepreneurs and in some cases winning the lottery.
It is important to obtain a financial order as not obtaining one leaves you vulnerable to claims as you get older and acquire more assets. This is important as it can affect retirement plans and also inheritance provision you may have made for your family may be affected drastically.
The average age for divorce in 2018 was 46.69 years for men and 44.5 years for women[i]. Many individuals of this age have accumulated assets such as the family home with equity in it, pensions, savings, own companies all which take into consideration when deciding on how to order a fair settlement.
In the UK, divorce proceedings and obtaining the important Decree Absolute, does not sever a party’s financial relationship with each other.
The case of Wyatt v Vince highlighted this concern. The relationship lasted less than three years and during the marriage Mr Vince was not a successful business man. The parties obtained a divorce in 1992 and by the late 1990s become a millionaire, however, no financial order was made. Ms Wyatt issued financial proceedings for a lump sum payment 19 years after the divorce was finalized. Mr Vince ended up making an offer to his ex-wife of a lump sum of £300,000.00. Whilst this lump sum was incredibly modest considering his overall net worth. If he had obtained a clean break at the same time as obtaining his divorce, it can be presumed that he would have been required to pay a lot less as the court would have focused mainly on the parties’ financial position at the time.
There was even a situation where a man won the lottery and despite being divorced from his ex-wife for several years, as they did not get a consent order her husband offered her a settlement of 2 Million pounds.
Whilst these cases have been published, sadly, there are many cases that matrimonial solicitors deal with that have similar circumstances. Not only having to deal with the financial burden of having to deal with financial proceedings, the stress of having to go through financial disclosure, negotiations of settlement, and corresponding with your ex-partner many years after your divorce is far from ideal.
We can assist in what can be a difficult time for clients. If you have any questions regarding divorce or any other family matter, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0843 289 7130.
Shad Mpande – Trainee Solicitor
Shelley Harper – Solicitor