Last Updated on 23.9.21 by Nicola Fraser
Research has shown that attitudes surrounding marriage and divorce are on the change. In a study of 1,000 UK adults by Gorvins Solicitors, 36% said that divorce had become easier, with 50% of over 55s in agreement. Of the respondents, 54% said they think it’s now more socially acceptable for relationships to break down.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise to find that more people are walking down the aisle for the second time with around 45,000 divorced individuals getting remarried every year. Although the experience may be less nerve-wracking second time around, there are certain elements that you should ensure are all tied up before you enter into another marriage.
Everyone knows you have to get a decree absolute in your divorce from your previous marriage before you remarry. However, before you get remarried, you should also make sure you have a final financial court order in relation to the previous divorce.
It is a common mistake to believe that once a divorce has been finalised with a decree absolute that neither party can make any further claims against the other. However, that is untrue and whilst a decree absolute dissolves the marriage, so you are no longer married, it does not prevent a former spouse making a financial claim against the other. Only a financial order providing for a clean break can prevent any further financial claims being made.
However, if you have not got a final financial order, or made an application to court for such an order before you remarry, you could find that you have lost the right to do so. For example, if you were the Respondent in the divorce proceedings, or you were the Petitioner but did not include a claim called a ‘prayer’ for financial relief in the divorce petition.
Failure to do so could result in you losing the right to get appropriate financial provision, such as making a claim in respect of your ex-spouses assets (such as property, savings, investments and pension) or make the process of dealing with joint assets more complicated. It could also limit the claim you may have had in respect of such joint assets to less than you potentially could have had in financial remedy proceedings arising from a divorce.
Equally, if you obtain a final financial order on ‘a clean break basis’ from your previous marriage, you will have the security of knowing your former spouse is not going to make any further claims against you in the future.
Some people believe if they don’t have many assets then it is a useless undertaking to get a financial order, but doing so can provide peace of mind for the future. The recent high profile case of Ms Wyatt and Mr Vince highlighted this. The parties didn’t have any valuable assets during the marriage but Ms Wyatt has been able to make a claim against the multi-million pounds worth of assets Mr Vince has since built up, some 20 years after their divorce.
Having a financial order in place providing for a clean break ensures that if your financial situation drastically improves, you won’t find yourself struggling to keep hold of your new fortune years down the line should your previous partner stake a claim through the courts.
Ensuring these financial issues are in order reduces the likelihood of ‘baggage’ from the previous marriage impacting upon your later marriage. Financial aspects regarding a divorce can be intricate, which is why it is vital to seek specialist legal advice to make sure all the loose ends are tied up tightly before you embark on a new life of marriage.
Give our specialist family and matrimonial team a call on 0161 930 5151 (standard landline rate) or fill in our online contact form and we will call you back when it is convenient.
Partner & Head of Family, Family Law