When is a divorce finally over?
That seems, on the face of it, to be a rather silly question. Most of us would say that the divorce is finished when the parties receive their “decree absolute”. This is an unremarkable piece of paper with the court stamp on it which you receive at the end of a divorce confirming that you are no longer married.
However many of you may have picked up on a story that has been running in the media for over a year now about a wife who made a financial claim against her husband almost 30 years after the parties had split. The couple married in the early 1980s when they were both new age travellers. They had a son but split up and divorced after only a few years.
The husband then set up an eco-electricity business, after pioneering wind turbines to charge mobile phones at the Glastonbury festival. He was obviously a very successful entrepreneur and now runs a business worth apparently £57 million.
A few years ago his ex-wife made a financial claim suggesting that she should receive some payment for all the years of bringing up their son etc.
Much to the surprise of most of the legal profession she was allowed to make a claim despite the decades which had passed since she divorced her husband.
I read recently that the husband had settled the case for about half a million pounds !!
So where does this leave divorce law?
Well, one of the interesting things about law is that it is ever-changing. In fairness divorce law changes less than some other areas of law, but like anything else it evolves over the years. Solicitors are all now having to advise our clients to be much more careful about financial settlements.
Realistically, the only way to avoid this kind of situation is to make sure that when you get divorced you also get a financial order ruling out both your claims in the future. We call this a “consent order” and offer it for a fixed fee of as little as £720 including VAT.
So peace of mind for the future, especially if you plan on becoming a millionaire some day, is a lot cheaper than you might think.