Do I need a clean break order when I am getting a divorce?

Hewitts > All News > Do I need a clean break order when I am getting a divorce?

Divorce is never easy and the financial implications of paying for two households instead of one can often stretch the finances of separating couples.  If there is no property or other assets of the marriage, it is easy to think there is no need to get legal advice or reach a financial settlement with your spouse.  However, most people don’t realise that although their decree absolute ends their marriage, it does not automatically end their financial ties to their former spouse.  

Without a financial clean break court order, you could leave yourself open to your former spouse bringing unexpected claims in the future.  For example, if you were to build up a success business or come into money by way of inheritance, your former spouse could bring a financial claim, even years after your divorce.  

This issue was highlighted in the two high profile cases within the last decade which saw successful claims brought long after a divorce, where no clean break order had been approved by the court. 

Euromillions winner Nigel Page had been divorced for over 10 years, when he won £56 million on the lottery. He had not obtained a clean break order when he had divorced and as a result his ex-wife made a claim on his winnings and she reportedly received an out of court settlement of £2 million.

The same issue arose in the case of Wyatt v Wince in 2015. After his divorce, Mr Vince set up a successful company which grew to be worth many millions.  Ms Wyatt made an application to the court for a financial orders more than 20 years after they had divorced and received a large lump sum payment.

These cases highlight the importance of formalising your financial settlement into a clean break order and having it approved by the court at the same time as getting divorced to prevent unexpected claims being brought at a later date.

A clean break order is a financial settlement between you and your former spouse that has been approved by the court.  It will end all financial ties and protect you from a claim over any future assets you acquire.

It is all too easy to think that it is a waste of money to get a financial clean break order finalised, especially when there are little or no assets of the marriage to be divided at the time.  However, incurring the legal costs of obtaining a clean break order alongside your divorce will be worth every penny as it will give you piece of mind that any financial claims arising from your marriage are brought to an end alongside your divorce.  It is a relatively straight forward process, and normally does not involve you having to go to court.

Hewitts has a wealth of experience in preparing clean break orders and can represent you throughout the process, advising you on the terms that should be included to ensure your future assets are fully protected.

For more information, Hewitts offer a free initial telephone consultation to discuss any issues relating to divorce.  Contact your local office today to arrange an appointment. 

Bishop Auckland office Tel: 01388 604691

Newton Aycliffe office Tel: 01325 316170

Darlington office Tel: 01325 468573

Stockton office Tel: 01642 673701

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