On 6th April 2022, the law was changed to remove “blame” from divorce proceedings. Getting divorced has been made easier and hopefully less contentious, but obtaining a Final Order (previously a Decree Absolute), should not be the end of the story. Few people realise that until a final financial order is made, financial claims remain open even after a Final Order is made in divorce proceedings.
In one case, 27 years after the parties separated, the wife successfully made an application for a financial order. In another case, 11 years after separation, despite the husband believing that the parties had reached an agreement at the time of separation, the husband having paid £150,000 to the wife, the wife made a financial application after the divorce was finalised and was able to do so, because their “agreement” had not been made into a financial order.
The court will take into account all the circumstances of the case, including delay in making the application for a financial order, but that may not prevent a financial order being made. It may seem at the time of separation or even divorce, that modest assets do not justify the cost of obtaining a financial order, but a change in circumstances may encourage a former spouse to make a financial claim. However, it does not have to involve a life changing event such as a lottery win, inheritance or sale of a company. If a former spouse falls on hard times, or retires and realises that they do not have enough pension to live on, then that may be enough for them to make a financial application.
Amanda Holland, Ashley James Solicitors, 0121 355 4555 or 0121 702 1580, [email protected] offices in Sutton Coldfield and Solihull