Posted by familylaw on 23rd September 2019
Last updated 29th March 2024
The re-marriage trap

After a marriage breakdown you need to consider financial implications and plan for the future. But dealing with these issues may be difficult as there are many other things to consider, such as arrangements for the children. Sometimes finances are not discussed at all or are resolved between you without the agreement being formalised by court order or separation deed, meaning it is not legally binding.

The court will only make a financial order if an application for an order has been made. This is done by the petitioner as part of divorce proceedings or by the respondent to the divorce applying for a financial remedy.

There is no time limit in applying for a financial remedy. If financial matters are left unresolved, either party could potentially make a financial claim against the other (or their estate upon death), perhaps even years later. In one case, Vince v Wyatt [2013], the Court of Appeal struck out a wife’s application for financial orders made 27 years after separation only for the Supreme Court to overturn the decision and allow the wife’s application to proceed against her wealthy former husband whose assets had been acquired long after their divorce.

This illustrates that if you re-marry without resolving financial matters by court order or an enforceable separation deed, you will be caught in the ‘re-marriage trap’. After re-marriage, you will not be able to apply for financial provision orders or a property adjustment order against your spouse (although you can still apply for a pension sharing orders). However, as long as they have not re-married, your former spouse will be able to apply against you.

It is best to resolve your finances prior to re-marriage, or at least put in motion your financial claims to avoid this situation. For help with this, please call us on 01823 785070 to make your first, free appointment.

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