When you are getting a divorce, as difficult as it may be, this is the time to sort out financial matters. The best way by far is to, with or without assistance, reach agreement with your spouse and to incorporate that agreement in Order.
This type of Order is known as a Consent Order, as the parties consent to the making of the same. It reflects the agreement reached between the parties and, more importantly, includes provision to prevent either party making any future claims against the other in the future.
If you can agree your financial settlements outside the Court arena, that is less time consuming and less expensive for everyone involved. You can do this via mediation or, if you are amicable enough, on your own with no outside help.
Regardless of how you go about matters, it is important to have the agreement incorporated in an Order approved and sealed by a Court.
It is a common misconception that simply reaching agreement in relation to financial matters, without having the same set out in an Order, precludes either party making any future claims. This is not the case. It is still possible for financial claims to be pursued.
Recently, a businessman found himself in this exact situation. He divorced his wife in 2005 and left her with a mortgage-free home worth £600k, and paid her £10k per year. This was in addition to child maintenance for three children (all of whom are now adults). Last month, he was ordered in the Court of Appeal to pay her a further £2.7 million.
When the husband and wife divorced, they were able to discuss and “agree” division of the matrimonial finances. Unfortunately for the husband the agreement was not set out in an Order concluding financial issues. As a result, the wife was able to ask the Courts to consider financial issues.
This is just one example illustrating how a party can ask the Court to consider financial matters even after “agreement”. This could be an inheritance, a lottery win or a larger income, even if you didn’t own anything when you got a divorce.
So remember, if you are getting a divorce, protect yourself and deal with your finances at the same time.
Farleys’ Family Team are happy to assist you in relation to divorce proceedings and marital agreements. You can get in contact with a member of the team on 0845 287 0939 or complete our online contact form. We also run free family law clinics every Thursday from our Blackburn and Burnley offices.