I have been divorced for years, can my former partner still make a claim?

Category: Divorce

You have been separated, or even divorced, for years and then, out of the blue, you receive a letter from your former spouse or civil partner seeking a lump sum payment, a share or transfer of your property, or a share of your pension.

Many separated or divorced couples ask whether it is possible for such a claim to be brought after so long. The short answer is yes, but not in all cases.

During the course of a marriage or civil partnership couples usually acquire “property”. “Property” can have a wide definition in this context and can include shares, furniture, savings etc. not just a house. When a married couple separate, a decision needs to be made about how that “property” is going to be distributed between them.

It is open to parties to agree the division of “property” and to have this agreement documented in a separation agreement or Consent Order. A separation agreement is a record of what is agreed between the parties. It is not a legally binding document; however, it may prove difficult to renege on the agreement recorded without good cause. A Consent Order is a written document detailing the agreement you reach which is sent to the Court and, if approved by the Judge, becomes legally binding. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, it is possible for either party to make an application to the Court for a financial order where a Jude will make a decision for the parties, known as an Order, as to how the property should be distributed.

If at the time of separation/divorce these matters are not dealt with, and if neither a Consent Order or an Order is made, it is theoretically open to either party to bring a financial claim against their former spouse or civil partner at any time in the future, provided that the applicant party has not remarried. If the party wishing to bring a claim has remarried then any claim will be limited.

There is a lot of guidance from the Courts, as well as statutory law, surrounding spouses and civil partners. It is important to seek legal advice to help guide you through the applicable law and to assist you in resolving the consequent financial issues arising out of your separation.

Should you have a query about a current or historical separation, we have specialists at Nash & Co to answer your enquiry. Please ring on 01752 664444 to arrange an appointment with one of our specialists. Here at Nash, we pride ourselves on providing expert legal advice and using our knowledge to help our clients understand and manage the legal process. All our family solicitors are members of Resolution and we believe in helping our clients overcome the legalities of their separation in a non-confrontational and supportive way.

Kirstin Sibley is a Solicitor in the Family Law team at Nash & Co Solicitors in Plymouth. She is a member of Resolution and deals with all areas of family law. She advises on a wide range of matters including divorce, financial relief, children and cohabitee disputes.

Phone: 01752 827038