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Divorce, marital finances and the effect of remarriage

Divorce, marital finances and the effect of remarriage

Many people are unaware of the fact that getting a divorce and dealing with your marital finances are actually separate proceedings. Yes, they are interrelated, but you can get a divorce without dealing with your marital finances. However, this is not advisable for the reasons which are set out below.

When applying for a divorce, it is important to ensure that the petition is completed correctly to enable the parties to apply to the court for financial relief at a later stage if they wish to do so.

In relation to marital finances, spouses have four respective claims against each other:

  1. Income
  2. Pension sharing
  3. Property adjustment
  4. Capital

Even after decree absolute is granted, ending the marriage, these claims remain open unless they are dismissed. There is no time limit in which applications for the above claims can be made to the court and this means that an application can be made several years after a divorce is granted.

An example of this can be found in the recent Supreme Court case of Wyatt v Vince, where Mrs Wyatt was allowed to proceed with her application for financial relief from her ex-husband, Mr Vince, 19 years after decree absolute was granted ending their marriage.

It is therefore very important to ensure that these claims are dismissed and both parties are not left looking over their shoulder worried that their ex-spouse will make an application to the court at some point in the future.

Is there any bar to an application for financial relief following divorce?

If the claims have not been dismissed but an ex-spouse re-marries, they may be barred from making a claim against their previous spouse. It is the person who has re-married that will be barred. If the other ex-spouse has not re-married, he or she is still able to apply to the court.

It is unfortunate that many people refuse to deal with their marital finances on divorce. Perhaps they find the process expensive or they do not feel that their ex-spouses will apply for financial relief against them in the future. Of course, dealing with your marital finances is incredibly stressful and it will be a very emotional time for all parties but it is important to consider these issues carefully in order to prevent further stress and expense in the future.

If you require any further advice or assistance in relation to a divorce or dealing with your marital finances, please do not hesitate to contact IBB’s experienced family and divorce solicitors today on 03456 381381 or email us at familylaw@ibblaw.co.uk.