Further to our earlier post on a former wife making financial claims years after divorcing her ex, five Supreme Court Justices have ruled that the wife may pursue her claim for financial relief. This is in spite of a delay of over 20 years from the Decree Absolute to the financial application being lodged. Lord Wilson said her claim is legally recognisable and is not an abuse of process. Her claim had previously been struck out.
However, there was commentary by the Supreme Court Judges that she will have some difficulty establishing her claim given the length of the marriage and the delay in bringing her claims. Lord Wilson indicated that her claim for an award of £1.9 million was “out of the question” but he thought there was a “real prospect” that she would get a comparatively modest award.
The case will now be referred back to the High Court of the Family Division to analyse her claim.
This case shows that irrespective of the lapse in time from Decree Absolute to a financial relief claim being made, the Court retains the power to consider the respective financial claims of the parties. Even if you have no significant assets or income at the time of divorce, you should therefore take advice and consider seeking a Clean Break Order. This would dismiss any potential claims you may have against each other and would prevent either party making a claim in the future, regardless of any change of circumstances of either party.
For more information, help or advice, please contact our Family team.