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Decree Absolute – is it all I need?

The online divorce system allows people to get a divorce without seeking legal advice and can save them considerable legal costs. It is a user-friendly system that is designed to make the divorce process simpler.

What most people do not realise, however, is that a Decree Absolute ends your marriage but it does NOT dissolve your financial ties to your ex-spouse. Married couples can have substantial financial claims against each other and a Decree Absolute does not stop those claims. Those financial ties can include property, lump sums, income and pensions and there is no time limit for those claims. Even after years of being divorced, those financial claims still remain live and could cause a problem for you. The only way those claims disappear is on your ex-spouse’s remarriage and, even then, not all of the claims go away, your ex-spouse could still have a claim on your pension.

If you are in the process of getting divorced then you need to make sure that you tie up the financial side of your divorce as well. There are many ways to reach an agreement over financial matters, for instance:

  1. Reach an agreement with your ex-spouse directly;
  2. Mediation – an independent third party assists you with negotiations and helps you to reach an agreement; or
  3. Solicitors negotiation

If you can reach an agreement through one of the above options then you should ensure that any agreement is written into a Consent Order and submitted to a Court for a Judge’s approval. This is the only way that any agreement will become binding on you and your ex-spouse and the only way to dismiss your financial claims against each other both now and in the future. Without that Court Order, both yours and your spouse’s financial claims will remain live. Even if you and your ex-spouse have no financial assets now, you should still get a clean break Consent Order put in place dismissing your financial claims. No-one knows what the future holds and you might want to think of it as an insurance policy protecting your future life.

If you can’t reach an agreement with your ex-spouse then your last recourse would be to issue Court proceedings.

Whatever your situation, you should seek the right support and legal advice so that you can make the right decisions for your future.

If you would like any additional information regarding financial matters in divorce proceedings please contact Sam Hulse or a member of our family team on 01905 721600

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