Why tying up the financial ends of your divorce today could save you a fortune tomorrow
The number of divorcing couples is rising. Yet, in a worrying development, it seems that less than a third are finalising their financial agreement in a court order.
This means many people are being left in a potentially vulnerable position. Without a financial order and clean break clause in place, you have no protection against an ex-partner making a claim against your assets in the future or requesting financial support.
Taking specialist legal advice at an early stage is always money well spent to ensure that you don’t miss anything or make a mistake that could come back to haunt you.
Why is an increase in DIY divorces making the problem worse?
A new DIY online service means it’s now possible to handle your own divorce for a fee of £593. (In most cases, we can do this for you for a small, fixed fee.)
Although it is possible to do all the work yourselves, and this may seem like the obvious thing to do when you both agree on the division of assets, savings and investments, it’s important to be cautious.
Making sure that all financial matters – including pensions – have been resolved before applying for the final order (what used to be known as the decree absolute) is vital to make sure you have a legally enforceable settlement for the future.
This is because however amicable the split now, if your relationship deteriorates in the future – for example your ex has a change of heart or fortune – they could still try to make a financial claim for financial provision or property adjustment. This could happen many years down the line.
Why is a financial order so vitally important?
A financial order details how all finances will be divided between you when you divorce. This can include property, ongoing maintenance, pensions and lump sum payments.
Then, as long as it is fair and has been properly drafted, a Family Court judge approves it. Once this is done, neither of you – except in rare circumstances – can return to make a financial claim in the future. This is also known as a clean break agreement.
What do the new divorce statistics show?
Statistics from 2021 show an almost 10% increase in divorces from the previous year, up to 113,505 with just 48,946 applications made for a financial remedy agreement.
Figures from the Family Courts from the April to July quarter of this year, show a further escalation with the highest number of divorce petitions in a decade at 33,234.
In the same period, just 9,235 financial remedy applications were made illustrating that the number of couples divorcing without a formal financial agreement is dropping still further.
Why is the divorce rate increasing?
This rise in divorces is down to a range of factors including:
- New ‘no fault’ divorce laws mean couples who were waiting until they could end their relationship without having to apportion blame are now taking action;
- People who delayed life changing decisions during the pandemic – due perhaps to the pressures of home schooling, looking after relatives and illness – are only just getting round to looking at their marriage;
- The new DIY online service.
How we can help
Here at Wards Solicitors, our highly experienced Family Law and Divorce experts understand just how difficult and emotional contemplating separation can be, particularly in these difficult economic times.
We can offer a range of services to help address any worries and fears you may have with solutions like mediation to resolve difficulties about finances or children.
Our family law and divorce solicitors specialise in what’s known as collaborative law. This offers a way for divorcing or separating couples to work together as a team, face to face, with trained professionals to resolve disputes respectfully, and more cost effectively, without going to court.
Get in touch
Wards Solicitors has seven family and divorce law legal specialists and 13 offices across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset.
Our Family Law page here has further information on divorce and frequently asked questions.
We offer, where appropriate, a free initial half hour consultation to explain the divorce process clearly, outline all your options and help you make a plan for going forward.
In addition, we have a range of fixed fee packages we can discuss with you at your consultation.