Five Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled the Wife ‘s case should go before the family court. The question will be what the ex-wife will receive by way of financial settlement and we will have to wait to see what the outcome of the case will be? The reason why the ex-wife was allowed to bring such a claim was because her financial claims as referred to in the Divorce Petition applying for the divorce had not been dismissed when the Decree Absolute had been granted.
This is a striking ruling which means that there is no time limit for ex-spouses to apply to a court for a financial settlement following a divorce – however weak their claim may be. There are strict time limits in other claims, such as those for breach of contract or personal injury, but financial claims can clearly be made decades after the divorce itself.
This recent Judgment is a reminder that divorcing couples who want protection from such claims, even if they have no money at all, should obtain an order from the court at the time of the divorce, in which they both agree that there will be no further financial claims. This is known as a “clean break consent order”. That is the only way to guarantee that, if one of them goes on to make a fortune, they get to keep it. This is also a warning to divorcing couples that, upon pronouncement of their Decree Absolute which simply brings the marriage to an end, it does no more than that as the financial claims still need to be dealt with regardless of not having any assets at the time of separation or the divorce.
For more information about this case, have a look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-31832392
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