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A clean break in your divorce

Published on 28 April 2016 | Modified on 14 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett
Legal Defence Funding

It is a common and understandable mistake to believe that once you are legally divorced from your husband/wife then your financial relationship with them has been ended at the time that your marriage has been dissolved. Legally however this is not the case.

A lot of people find it astonishing to learn that their ex-wife or ex-husband still has the opportunity, and legal rights, to make a financial claim against their ex-spouses wealth, despite the fact that they have been divorced for a significant period of time.

An example of one such case that caught the media’s attention in 2015 was the case of an ex-wife who sought to receive a financial payout after she had been divorced from her ex-husband for 20 years. Her ex-husband was worth £107 million pounds at the time she made her financial claim, as a result of him setting up his own company.

The same would apply to an ex-husband or ex-wife who came into some money, for example, by way of inheritance or in the event of say, a lottery win!

The reason that an ex-spouse is able to make such financial claims post-divorce, is that they did not enter into a legally binding Order preventing either of them from making any financial claims from each other, at the time of their divorce proceedings.

This Order is known, in legal terms, as a “Consent Order” and it deals with the terms of any financial settlement including, property, pensions, income and any other capital assets. The crucial part of this Consent Order is a clause known as the “clean break clause”. This clause ensures that neither party can make any future claim, both in life and death, against the other’s finances or estate.

Whilst a Court Order regarding the finances of the marriage may not seem necessary at the time of divorce, the need for one may arise in the future should the financial situation of either of the parties change. This could leave one party facing a claim by an ex-spouse as to a share of any financial gain made, including a higher paid job, inheritance or winning the lottery.

This is an extremely important issue and if you require further advice in relation to divorce, financial matters and Consent Orders then please contact our specialist team of Family solicitors via our contact form to arrange a consultation.

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