Taken From: http://www.cozens-hardy.com/

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Why Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer? Read On...

A failure to take legal advice so that the financial aspects of your divorce are tied up and finalised is a hostage to fortune that can come back to bite you many years into the future. In one case, a woman faced her ex-husband’s claim for substantial financial support almost 25 years after their marriage ended.

After the couple’s nine-year marriage was terminated by a decree absolute in 1992, the husband’s working life had been patchy and, apart from a pension worth less than £60,000, he had no assets to his name. The wife’s career had, by contrast, prospered mightily and her assets were valued at about £4.7 million. In those circumstances, the husband launched proceedings in 2016, seeking financial provision from the wife under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Following their separation, the husband took primary responsibility for the care of their two children. The wife had, however, provided significant financial support and she and her partner had purchased a £400,000 house to be occupied by the husband and children, also spending £200,000 on renovating the property.

In ruling on the matter, the High Court noted that the couple had long since formed new relationships. Following the breakdown of the marriage, they had not considered seeking legal advice about their future financial arrangements. As a result, no court order formalising a division of their resources had been sought. The wife had said that, so far as she was concerned, her marriage was over and it had never crossed her mind to get anything in writing.

The Court acknowledged that, in certain circumstances, a party to matrimonial proceedings may be awarded financial remedies many years after a divorce. In dismissing the husband’s application, however, the Court found that the couple had reached an informal agreement concerning financial matters shortly after the end of their marriage. The husband’s pleas that he had felt under pressure and that he had been bullied into the agreement were rejected.

Although the husband undeniably had financial needs, his argument that he should be permitted to remain for life in the property bought for him and the children by the wife fell on fallow ground. His current wife had a property in which he could plainly reside. He worked with her in her business and, if that failed, he could be expected to obtain paid employment elsewhere.

The financial support provided to him by the wife had enabled him to follow the life and career path of his choice. His lack of resources was a consequence, not of his former marriage, nor of his responsibilities to the children, but rather of the way in which he had chosen to run his life. To require the wife to make further financial provision for him would, in the circumstances, be unfair. The Court found that the very long delay in the husband launching proceedings arose because he was only alerted in 2015 to the possibility that he might have a surviving financial claim against the wife.

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