Does the pronouncement of a Decree Absolute sever the financial ties between divorcing couples?
In short the answer is “no!” and this misunderstanding can have costly implications.
The pronouncement of a decree absolute formally dissolves your marriage and either party is then free to remarry, but only a financial order can ultimately sever the financial ties. It is important to deal with financial matters promptly for a variety of reasons.
If finances are not resolved on divorce, then financial claims can remain open indefinitely leaving you at the mercy of your former spouse who may make a claim for financial remedy even after decree absolute. Where there is no financial agreement it is open to a former spouse (where they have not remarried or entered into a civil partnership) to make a claim a future claim.
The court usually looks at the assets “on the day”, which means that where in the future either party acquires money or property from any source including inheritance, or gifts a former spouse may look to make a claim against the same.
The court will look carefully and make an order based on fairness, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement.
It is important to note where a party unfortunately dies before the making of a financial order upon the pronouncement of Decree Absolute this may affect any benefits a spouse may have been entitled to under the deceased party’s pension. If you wish to make pension claims, this should always be pursued before decree absolute wherever possible.
It is, of course, encouraged that parties agree the division of their matrimonial assets upon separation and this can be done amicably between the parties. It is vitally important however that this agreement is reflected in a financial order whether ordered by the court or dealt with voluntarily incorporated into a Consent Order.
It is a straightforward process to incorporate the terms of an agreement between separating parties into a clean break order to the mutual benefit of both parties.
We can, at Onions & Davies, advise you thoroughly as to the effect of Decree Absolute and Financial Orders in your own circumstances and please do not hesitate to contact our family team for more information on 01630 411226.