I often have clients tell me that they have agreed everything with their spouses, following separation and that they don’t need anything done about that – they just want the divorce bit dealt with and then the Decree Absolute will finalise everything….won’t it?
The Decree Absolute finalises the divorce, it is true. Once you have that, you are no longer married. However, that does not terminate all of the claims which spouses have against each other. A divorced couple may well have agreed all of the financial arrangements but sometimes circumstances change and one party wants to re-visit the arrangements at a later date and they can, except in some limited circumstances such as re-marriage.
In order to dismiss any potential future claims and to make an agreement as to financial arrangements, final and binding, the parties should apply for a ‘consent order’. This is a document which can be drawn up by a solicitor and lodged with the Court for approval by a Judge. Once it has been approved and sealed by the Court, it is binding, unless in exceptional circumstances such as fraud. As well as giving the parties peace of mind about future claims being made, it also gives them something which they can produce as evidence of the agreement, if one of them does not adhere to the agreement. Punishments for breaching a Court order include: warning notices, enforcement orders, compensation and contempt of court proceedings.
Once again, if in doubt, write it down.
For more information on the issues raised in this blog please do not hesitate to contact one of the team at Rayden Solicitors.