Why is it important to obtain a consent order with regards to finances upon divorce?
Whilst a decree absolute legally ends your marriage it does not legally end your financial commitments to one another.
A recent case* has highlighted the problems which can arise where a couple agree how their finances should be divided when they divorce but have not formalised this agreement with a consent order. In this recent case the court allowed a husband to make a claim for financial remedy from his ex-wife even though they had been divorced for 24 years and had both re-married.
This means that if, for example, one of you is fortunate enough to receive a large sum of money many years after the divorce, the other person could still be entitled to claim a share of that money unless a consent order is in place. This is because there is no statutory limitation period in relation to financial claims upon divorce i.e. there is no time limit by which an ex-spouse must make his/her claim. That said, even though the court may grant them permission to make an application, even many years after divorce, it does not guarantee that the former spouse will be entitled to anything – it does however mean that you may well be saddled with a hefty legal bill to fight the application.
How can this be resolved?