January 25th, 2019
Can Financial Claims Still Be Made Years After Divorce?
Recently I have had a few cases whereby divorcing couples believe that after they obtain a divorce from their spouse, there is no further risk of a claim later on. Few realise that unless divorcing parties obtain a Financial Order from the Court, financial claims remain open against them. It is therefore crucial that all divorcing couples, whatever the extent of their assets, apply for a Financial Order, hopefully by consent or other methods of reaching a solution.
There can be huge risks in not obtaining a Financial Order at the point of divorce, which is demonstrated in the case of Wyatt v Vince.
Ms Wyatt and Mr Vince divorced in 1992 when both parties had modest assets. A Decree Absolute was granted on 26 October 1992, but no Financial Order was sought by either party at the time. Ms Wyatt’s claims against Mr Vince remained open. In the late 1990s, Mr Vince became a multi-millionaire and 19 years later in 2011, Ms Wyatt applied for financial provision from Mr Vince.
Despite Mr Vince applying for Ms Wyatt’s application to be struck out, after appeal, the Supreme Court upheld Ms Wyatt’s application for financial relief and the case proceeded through the Family Courts.
This case is so important as it demonstrates that divorcing couples must resolve the finances at the same time as going through the divorce process. Couples often believe it will save them money by avoiding this process, when in fact it could cost one party a lot more years down the line. Even if the couple agree between themselves that they will not make any financial claims against each other, this must also be recorded into a Financial Order.
The Court has a wide discretion in determining these cases and each case will be considered on its own individual facts. To avoid any further conflict, it is imperative that both parties know that they will not be pursued in the future for financial provision.
If you would like any further advice regarding this or any other family law issue, please contact a member of our specialist team at Hawkins Family Law.
Stacey qualified as a Solicitor in 2011 having completed her training with Hine Solicitors in Beaconsfield. Stacey has since worked for the Legal 500 firm, Duncan Lewis Solicitors in London. Stacey has extensive experience in all areas of family law including advising clients in relation to co-habitation, divorce, matrimonial finances, pre & post-nuptial agreements. Stacey was delighted to join specialist practice Hawkins Family Law (The Legal 500 2015 recommends the team as “exemplary”) in February 2016 and has considerable experience resolving children issues whether they are in relation to where a child should live or issues regarding contact.
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