0800 652 3371

Financial Claims After Divorce Lawyers

 

If you are going through the process of separating from your spouse or Civil Partner, organising your financial affairs can be the furthest thing from your mind. Divorce can be a stressful and emotionally difficult time and it is tempting to avoid thinking about what is going to happen to your property, assets and debts. We are here to help you address those matters and ensure they are all legally tied up and signed off.

It is important that you do come to a court endorsed, legally binding agreement with your former partner about your finances because, otherwise, it is possible for a claim to be made at any point in the future. Even after the decree absolute has been granted, one spouse or civil partner can still make a claim against the other’s assets, even assets which were acquired post-separation. There is no time limit on such claims.

We can help you finalise a financial settlement at the point of your divorce. This will give you peace of mind and a clean slate going forward.

We can also assist in protecting your interests if a financial claim is brought against you by your ex-spouse sometime after your divorce. We can also advise you accurately and confidentially, if you feel that you have been treated unfairly in terms of the division of matrimonial assets following your divorce.

Whatever your situation, our friendly expert team are ready to listen and help bring about the best outcome to your situation.  Contact Lanyon Bowdler's team of expert family law solicitors today for advice on relation to the financial aspects of divorce and separation.

Experts in Financial Matters when a Marriage Breaks Down

Our expertise has been recognised by the main legal directories, and we are proud of the reputation we have developed not only in Shropshire, Herefordshire & North Wales, but right across the West Midlands and beyond. Wherever you are in England and Wales, we can help you.

We are equally proud that our reputation for legal excellence is matched by the recognition we receive for the service we provide. Our commitment to giving you the best experience possible is evidenced by feedback noted in one legal directory saying we provide “excellent customer service, which is friendly yet very professional”.

Our commitment to fully understanding the individual needs and circumstances of each of our clients has led us to be appointed to the NFU legal panel and to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, highlighting our dedication to providing a bespoke service to all. Whatever your circumstances, we have the knowledge and experience to support you in achieving the best outcome possible.

One factor that you must consider is ensuring that your financial outcome meets your needs and expectations both at the time of separation and into the future. We will support you in organising your financial affairs so that you achieve your goals and can move forward with confidence.

Does getting divorced mean you are financially separated?

No. Getting divorced ends your marriage, but it does not sever the financial ties you have with your former partner. In addition to getting your decree absolute, you also need a court to approve a legally binding financial settlement with your former partner called a Consent Order. If you don’t, it is possible that they may have a claim against you at any point in the future. 

To completely sever your financial ties with your former partner, you need to secure a Clean Break Order. A Clean Break Order stipulates that the Consent Order ends any on-going financial relationship between you and your former partner. In circumstances where the division of assets and debts is relatively straightforward, needs can be met and there is no uncertainty about the future financial situation of either party, we would usually advise a Clean Break Order is sought, as it provides certainty and closure.  

This may not be possible in all cases, as there may need to be an on-going financial relationship between you and your former partner (to support one party’s income needs for example). There may be uncertainty about either party’s employment situation, or the outcome of a property or business sale, which may mean that you want to delay finalising the formal end of your financial relationship. In such cases, it is important to be as clear as possible about which elements of your financial relationship remain intact and how the relationship will ultimately be severed. It is possible to agree to a deferred Clean Break Order, which will come into force once specified conditions have been satisfied (the sale of property, for example).

In what circumstances can a post-divorce financial claim be made?

Reasons why people choose to bring a claim against a former partner obviously depend on the individual circumstances, but they can include:

  • Not having resolved financial issues at the time of the separation or divorce/dissolution of Civil Partnership – and realising the need to do so subsequently.
  • Subsequent events which change the financial circumstances of either party – such events must cause a significant or “material” change to one party’s financial circumstances. This could be due to one party earning or inheriting a large sum post-divorce, which the other feels they are entitled to a share of.
  • One party deciding that the original settlement was unfair – this could be due to the intentional, or unintentional, non-disclosure of relevant facts (such as a promotion or job offer) or undervaluation of an asset which has a significant impact on the agreement.
  • One party believing that they were pressurised into the original settlement.

How long after separation can a claim be made?

There is no time limit on claims made post-divorce. If a party’s financial claims have not been dismissed by order of the court, so long as that party has not remarried, it is open to either party to make a claim at any point in the future. The significance of this has been made clear by decisions in the courts, in particular the famous case of entrepreneur Dale Vince.

Vince’s first wife claimed against him over 20 years after their divorce, following the success of a wind turbine business Vince had established following their separation. This business had made Vince extremely wealthy, far more than either party could have foreseen when they separated. At the time, the modest financial circumstances of both parties led to them not finalising their financial settlement, which meant that Vince’s former wife’s claim was successful.

Vince argued that the marriage had ended too long ago for the claim to be valid, and that his former wife was not entitled to a share in his new wealth as it was earned long after their separation. The court disagreed, with Lord Wilson of the Supreme Court emphasising “the potentially life-long obligations which attend a marriage”.

Cases such as this highlight the need for a formal financial settlement, no matter what your current financial circumstances. The court will fully consider all the individual circumstances of any claim, no matter the length of time since separation, so it is vital to safeguard yourself from any future claims if you can. We will support you in finalising the most appropriate outcome possible, to minimise the risk of any post-divorce claims.

What happens if one of us remarries?

If you remarry before making a claim against your former partner, you may not be able to do so following your remarriage. As always, your individual circumstances will be relevant to whether a claim can be made. If you intend to remarry before your financial settlement from your previous relationship has been finalised, it is advisable to get legal advice about protecting your position.

The most important thing is to formally indicate your intention to pursue a financial claim before you remarry, either by issuing your financial application or by indicating that you intend to do so on the Divorce Petition.

This restriction on making a claim only works one way: only the party who remarries is unable to make a claim. As such, if your former partner remarries, but you do not, it remains open to you to make a claim against them.

If you are intending to remarry before your financial settlement from a previous relationship is resolved, speak to us so we can provide the best advice about securing your position.

How are pensions dealt with in financial settlements?

It is relatively common for people to fail to make provision for their retirement  so pensions are often a source of post-divorce claims, particularly in relation to contributions made to one partner’s pension pot post separation. Usually, the court will order that only pension contributions made during the relationship are relevant, but that is not always the case.

Where provision for pensions is included in a financial settlement, it is usually in one of three ways:

Pension sharing – where the value of a pension is split between the parties upon or after pronouncement of Decree Absolute or Final Order in a Civil Partnership Dissolution, with each partner receiving their own pension pot. This allows for a clean break and for each partner to deal with their respective pension as they wish. This is the most common approach.

Pension offsetting – where another asset is used in exchange to offset the value of one partner’s pension. This also allows for a clean break.

Pension attachment order – where some or all of one partner’s pension benefits are ordered to be paid to the other when they become accessible. This approach is rare, as it does not involve a clean break or any transfer of the benefits into a pot belonging to the other party. As a result it gives the party not holding the pension very little control over how they receive the funds, which are lost if the party with the pension dies or the other party re-marries.

For more information about pensions on separation, see Pensions on Divorce.

Contact us

Please give us a call for a friendly, confidential, chat about how we can help support you when you or your family need legal advice and representation. Please contact a member of the team or complete our online enquiry form on the righthand side of this page.

By choosing Lanyon Bowdler for family law legal advice, you can rest assured that you have the best legal expertise on hand no matter what the situation. We are committed to providing exceptional levels of client care and will work closely and considerately with you to help find the best outcomes. Our Family Law Solicitors team has great experience in all areas of family law and family mediation.

We have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry and Telford, so are able to act for clients all over Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and across the Midlands (including Wolverhampton & Birmingham). As a leading full-service law firm, we can represent you wherever you live in the England and Wales.

Testimonials

I was impressed with the efficiency and welcome of staff. Excellent office layout and service.  

- Mrs S James & Mr W Parkinson, Telford

A warm welcome from the receptionist. Extremely impressed by all that have helped us, peace of mind for our future.

- Mr M Court & Mrs A May, Shrewsbury

Always very efficient in dealing with the workload and advice given in divorce. Would highly recommend the service I received. 

- Mrs Suzanne Purvin

Knowledge and information given was accurate and realistic.

- Mrs Eleanor Margaret Howells, Hereford

Very efficient, pleasant and fully explained. I am well satisfied.

- Mr Stephen Turner, Oswestry

Friendly atmosphere and very professional attitude. 

- Mr Sidney Jolliffe, Oswestry

Advice was sensible and informative. It allowed me to make the decisions with understanding potential concequences. 

- Mr Paul Simon Burgoyne, Hereford

They listened to my worries and my concerns, which put me at ease and made me feel that I completely had someone in my corner fighting for myself and children's best interests. 

- Miss Deborah Lisa Bradley, Shrewsbury & Oswestry

Case Studies

Nothing Left to Partner

Claire acted for a claimant whose partner died, leaving his entire estate to ...

Read More