The pitfalls of a DIY Divorce – One year on from No-Fault Divorce

News  |   17 April 2023

Written by
Amy Barnard, Trainee Solicitor

Following the change in the divorce law to the No-Fault Divorce in April 2022, divorce and dissolution of civil partnership is becoming more readily available with the roll out of the HMCTS Court Portal. Access to the Court Portal has been granted to the public, therefore, there has been an increase in divorce/dissolution with no assistance from legal advisers.

Couples are now quick to divorce/dissolve without any advice and therefore, awareness to the legal complications arising from unresolved finances. Simply receiving the Final Order on divorce does not end the financial claims that both parties have against one another. There is also no time limit to making a financial claim following divorce proceedings unless one party remarries. For example if you divorce and do not have a Financial Order in place implementing a clean break and you come into some money, your ex-spouse will be able to make a financial claim against this.

The finances should be finalised in one of 2 ways to stop the other party making a claim later

  1. Financial Agreement by consent
    Parties can negotiate and reach a settlement as to how they wish their finances should be settled. Once an agreement has been reached a solicitor can prepare a Financial Consent Order and have it sealed by the court. This is then final and binding.

    A consent order can be simply drafted to state that neither party has any claims to others finances. This is what is known as a clean break and will prohibit any future financial claims arising from the divorce.
  2. Court proceedings
    If parties cannot agree on a negotiated settlement, one party will need to issue Court Proceedings. There is then a series of court hearings at which the parties will be given an opportunity to negotiate a settlement before a Judge then makes a final order. The Family Courts are currently enduring significant delays between hearings, and this could have an impact on the overall financial position of both parties and the proportionality of the legal expenses. Therefore, it is actively encouraged by the Court and legal advisers to promote a collaborative approach to negotiating a financial settlement.

Leaving financial claims outstanding can result in issued proceedings and disruption years after the divorce was finalised. If you have, or are currently going through divorce procedure and need some advice as to settling the financial claims please contact us on 020 8290 0440 and speak to a member of our Family Team.

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