February 01, 2018
For a variety of seasons, family law cases can take some time to resolve. We are all in agreement, clients, lawyers and courts alike, that a quicker way to resolve disputes would be welcome
So, the good news is that last month, a new streamlined process was introduced following a pilot scheme, where financial claims and divorce proceedings are to be ‘de-linked’.
This means that there will be separate court files for the divorce proceedings and any financial claims.
The actual the divorce will stay in a regionalised central divorce centre and any financial matters will be transferred to a local court. If the financial claim is agreed then this will stay in the divorce centre.
This can reduce timescales by several weeks as divorce files no longer need to be transferred between courts.
Whilst the two aspects of a relationship breakdown are to be ‘delinked,’ a word of caution:
A great many of divorces do not have a financial order. In other words the money side of any divorce has not been ‘signed off’ by the courts.
Without a financial order barring future claims, people are left open to their former spouse/partner making an application for maintenance, lump sums of money, property or pensions, possibly many years after the divorce. This was highlighted in 2015 when the Supreme Court allowed an ex-wife’s application many years after the divorce.
To prevent this and give everyone peace of mind, it is important to have an order preventing future claims. This can be done by agreement or, in the absence of an agreement, an application can be made to the court.
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