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Beyond the Final Order: The Key Misconception of Divorce in the UK

Divorce is a significant life event that many individuals go through, often with mixed emotions and a sense of finality.

However, a common misconception exists that once you receive a final order through the Gov.uk system in the United Kingdom, the process is complete.

However, this is just the beginning of a more intricate journey, especially when it comes to financial matters.

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    In this article, we’ll shed light on the common misconception surrounding divorce and the crucial legal document is known as a financial remedy order, highlighting famous cases like that of Dale Vince to emphasise its importance.

    Since couples could apply for a no-fault divorce using the government portal, it’s become easier for couples to opt for a DIY divorce.

    This option can be a simple and cost-effective way to end your marriage, but the majority of couples who opt for this type of divorce, do so without legal advice.

    We often hear from divorcing couples who just want a quick divorce – they don’t know about the financial aspect of marriage and how not addressing the division of money and assets can have potential consequences years down the line.

    The Final Order – Not the End.

    The final order is a legal document that signifies the court’s agreement to the divorce itself. It does not, however, address the financial aspects of the divorce.

    Many people erroneously believe that obtaining a final order means they are free from any financial obligations to their former spouse. This is far from the truth.

    Even if parties have no joint assets to divide, you need to receive court approval to end your financial ties. This is commonly known as a clean break divorce.

    You need to understand what marriage means – when you tie the knot, you become financially tied. This means you gain certain rights and obligations concerning money, property, and savings for example.

    Financial matters in a divorce are often complex and require careful consideration.

    When a couple decides to divorce, they must also settle their financial affairs, which may include dividing assets, debts, and ensuring financial support, such as maintenance.

    These financial aspects are separate from the divorce process itself and require specific legal documentation.

    Enter The Financial Remedy Order…

    To ensure that financial matters are properly addressed and to prevent future claims, individuals going through a divorce must obtain a legal document called a financial consent order.

    This order outlines the agreed-upon financial settlement, including the division of assets, property, and financial support arrangements.

    The importance of sorting out your finances cannot be overstated. Here is why you should obtain a financial order after divorce:

    • Legal Protection: Without a financial remedy order, either party can make financial claims against the other even years after the divorce is finalized. This can lead to prolonged legal battles and financial insecurity.
    • Certainty: A financial remedy order provides clarity and certainty for both parties, ensuring that the agreed-upon terms are legally binding.
    • Closure: Obtaining a financial remedy order allows individuals to move on with their lives after divorce, knowing that their financial obligations and rights are clearly defined.

    Implications of Leaving Your Finances Open

    One prominent case that highlights the importance of a financial remedy order is that of Dale Vince, the founder of Ecotricity.  

    After separating from his wife, he did not obtain a financial remedy order, and years later, his ex-wife sought a substantial financial settlement.  

    This case underscores how failing to secure a financial remedy order can lead to unexpected and financially burdensome claims. 

    Of course, not everyone is going to build up a multimillion-pound company post-divorce, but that’s beside the point.

    An ex-spouse would be entitled to claim against any new property you purchase, or if your financial situation was to improve through a promotion at work.

    There can be serious consequences for parties after divorce if they fail to sort out their finances when going through a divorce.

    Secure Your Finances After Divorce

    Getting a divorce through the Gov.uk system in the UK is just the first step in the process. The misconception that it marks the end of all obligations can be detrimental in the long run.  

    To safeguard your financial future and prevent future claims, it’s imperative to obtain a financial remedy order.  

    Famous cases like that of Dale Vince serve as a stark reminder that addressing financial matters in divorce is crucial, ensuring a smoother transition into post-divorce life and avoiding legal complications down the road. 

    As a first step, look into whether your situation is suitable for a consent order or clean break order, and then discuss it with your ex-partner (if possible).

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    Need advice? Speak with our friendly team today

    If you are getting re-married and need advice on ensuring you protect your financial future and don’t lose out on financial rights, get in touch with us.

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    Mark Keenan - CEO of Divorce-OnlineThis post was written by Mark Keenan. Managing Director of Online Legal Services Ltd. Mark has been writing about divorce and related subjects for over 20+ years and is an expert in legal marketing.

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