Do I need a Financial Order when I get a Divorce/Dissolution even when we agree everything?
- AuthorJane Killerby-Nicholls
It is often the case that when a marriage (or a civil partnership) comes to an end that there are financial arrangements that need to be made. One or both parties may own property, particularly the home in which they have resided as a couple. There may be bank and building society accounts and other assets in joint names or the name of one of the parties. There may be debt, including a mortgage on the property (or properties) that are owned.
It may be the case that the breakdown of the relationship has been amicable or the parties have attended mediation and the parties have then agreed how their financial affairs are arranged following the separation.
It may be the case that there are no assets to be dealt with or that the parties feel that they can deal with them at a later date.
It is at this stage that the parties will ask themselves ‘do they need to get an order from the court that confirms the position’.
The advice we would always give a client at this stage is that, even when there are no assets, is ‘Yes - it is in their best interests to obtain an order that provides for a ‘clean break’ between them and their former partner’. The costs of obtaining this are likely to be considerably lower than they would be should it become necessary for the parties to litigate at a later date.
Obtaining an order by consent, even if it is just to record that neither has any claims against the other, following an agreement between the parties themselves or after negotiation through solicitors can ensure that neither party is able to make any further claim against the other at any time in the future during their joint lives or on the death of one of them.
It is in the parties' best interest to obtain such an order because the financial circumstances of either of the parties may change drastically for good or bad many years into the future and if a final order has not been made, and the claimant has not remarried, they would still have the option of making a claim against their former spouse/civil partner.
If joint properties are not sold or transferred the parties have an equal claim on the property or the net proceeds of sale, even if in the meantime one of the parties has failed to contribute to the upkeep and/or mortgage repayments.
If one party receives an inheritance, wills the lottery or on the football pools then potentially a claim could be made by the other party.
What if there are debts in one name or joint names and one party doesn’t keep to their agreement to pay all or part of that debt?
There are a number of factors that the court would take into consideration when deciding whether such a claim was successful but why take the risk.
Obtain a consent order which properly deals with ending of the financial relationship and be rest assured that you can plan your future financial arrangements in the knowledge that your former partner cannot make any claim against you (or your estate) at anytime in the future.
We can advise you upon and help you obtain such an order so please contact us whether we have already acted for you in your divorce/dissolution or not. Whilst it is possible for parties to obtain such an order themselves without the assistance of a solicitor, the court (District Judge) will not draft the order for them. The order needs to be drafted properly, to ensure that it is ‘watertight’ and for the court to approve it. We can do this for you, even if you do not wish us to advise you on the content of the agreement you have reached.