Protecting your finances through a divorce

Your Decree Absolute may have been granted, but have you protected your finances?

By Lauren Thornhill

Lauren Thornhill, a family lawyer from Frodsham based Rowlinsons Solicitors discusses the importance of putting in place a binding financial order.

According to the Office of National Statistics, there were 101,055 divorces in England and Wales in 2015.

“Going through the divorce process can be one of the most stressful and upsetting times of an individual’s life. At such a time, one may seek to focus on the end result… formally divorcing from a spouse and obtaining Decree Absolute. Whilst Decree Absolute formally brings the marriage to an end, it is imperative that a financial order is also granted”.

A financial order can be drawn up by a solicitor and will deal with matters such as the family home, pensions, assets and liabilities. Ultimately, a divorcing couple will be looking to achieve a clean break financial order which is approved by the Court.

Lauren commented that “occasionally, divorcing couples do not always put in place a financial order for one reason or another. If a clean break financial order is not obtained, then financial claims against each person remain open. This can cause huge difficulty especially if one party remarries as the ex-spouse is still able to make financial claims”.

“Imagine if you were lucky enough to win the lottery. You previously divorced but no financial order was obtained. Your ex spouse may be entitled to seek to make a claim over the lottery winnings for financial provision as the financial claims remain open without an order in place”.

Lauren said that “often ex spouses will verbally discuss financial arrangements and may even transfer property. However, without a binding order, financial claims can be pursued in the future. Often we have clients ask us why the spouse they divorced years ago is now able to claim as both have moved on with their lives. The answer is simple- a financial order was not obtained during the divorce process so claims remain live”.

“Obtaining a financial order must be viewed with the same importance as Decree Absolute”.