separation

No assets in my divorce – no Court Order needed right? Wrong!

Decree Absolute will bring your marriage to a legal end. However, it will not end the financial tie between yourself and your former spouse and potential claim against your assets and income in the future. There are only two ways you can sever the financial tie; by Financial Order by the Court or remarriage.

Even death of your former spouse does not necessarily cut the financial tie. Where you are in the divorce process can also have an impact. If for example the decree nisi has been granted but not the decree absolute, then in the eyes of the law you are still married. So, your husband or wife would still benefit, unless your Will has been changed.

If you are financially dependant on your former spouse at the date of death, you may also be able to make a claim against their estate.

If the Financial Order has been granted, the administrator of your former spouse’s Will should still comply with the Order, save in respect of spousal maintenance as that does usually terminate on death.

Given the complexities of this area we always advise our clients to obtain a Financial Order, even if you have no assets and limited income now. After all, this could change.

A Financial Order can be by way of Consent Order rather than a Judge making a decision regarding your assets. Whether you have no assets, limited assets or have a portfolio of assets the Court must be fully satisfied that you both are aware of each other’s financial position. This means both parties must provide full and frank disclosure of their assets and liabilities, even if it is zero.

You may think there is no value to obtaining an Order now. You may think it is a waste of time, money and stress, but actually it could save you later down the line. In the case of  Wyatt v Vince [2016] EWHC1368 (FAM) Mrs Wyatt sought to make a financial claim 19 years after the divorce. By this time Mr Vince had a £57m fortune. Mrs Wyatt was granted a modest lump sum. This demonstrates that even if you have divorced and reached a ‘informal’ agreement between yourselves if either of your financial positions change many years later a claim can still be made.

Another example is where Nigel Page won £56 million on the EuroMillions Lottery. Mr Page was forced to give his ex-wife £2 million of his windfall, ten years after she left him for another man.

Whether you need a complex Financial Order for a portfolio of assets, a simple Financial Order for limited assets or you have no assets and simply need a Clean Break Order, we will protect your position for the future.

We offer packages for limited or no asset settlements to ensure your legal fees are kept to a minimum.

Sarah Watson is a solicitor with over 10 years of experience. She is different to other lawyers, she genuinely cares about the outcome of your case. She will guide you and support you in any way she can.

If you require assistance in relation negotiating a financial settlement with your former spouse or would like to find out more about our clean break packages, then please contact one of our friendly team at Watson Legal either by calling 01279 466910 to book your free 30-minute consultation with Sarah or email info@watson-legal.com.

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