News & Events


Avoiding certain pitfalls when dealing with a divorce

The divorce process in this country has undergone several changes recently.

Over recent years, what was previously a paper heavy process has now moved online. It is now possible for parties themselves, or their legal representatives, to deal with the divorce process through the Government portal, meaning a more streamlined, accessible, and prompt process.

We are also now nearly two months in to the new ‘no fault’ process, reducing the need for divorcing couples to apportion blame in order to move the process forward.

However, a point which is often missed is that the divorce process itself (from application to the final stage which dissolves the marriage), is a small part of the process. In the majority of cases, more time, energy, and cost is spent trying to resolve the arrangements for the children, or a division of the financial assets upon a couple separating.

There are however some pitfalls which can catch people out when dealing with the divorce, a few of which I set out below.

‘Assuming that concluding a divorce prevents the other party from pursuing a financial settlement’

A common misconception is that dissolving the marriage will also ensure that the other party cannot seek a financial settlement. A divorce process itself does not close the financial claims couples have against each other, and it is important to ensure that the financial claims are also appropriately dealt with. The safest way to do so is by having a Court order confirming the division of the assets so there is certainty for all involved.

‘The remarriage trap’

It is possible to remarry once the divorce process itself has been concluded without having entered into a financial settlement. However, in certain circumstances, remarriage can prevent someone from being able to pursue a financial settlement from their previous marriage. It is important therefore that this is thought about carefully, and specialist advice obtained as appropriate, before a party remarries.

‘Applying for the final stage of the divorce too early’

If the divorce is concluded before a financial settlement is reached and contained within a Court Order, this can cause difficulties in circumstances where one of the parties passes away. This is particularly relevant in relation to pensions and can potentially financially disadvantage the other party. It is again important therefore for advice to be sought regarding the appropriate time to apply for the final stage of the divorce.

If you are considering embarking on a divorce process, or believe that the circumstances above may apply to you, please do not hesitate to contact either myself or one of the team.

These notes have been prepared for the purpose of articles only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

Get in touch

Talk to us about your legal challenges and discover how our expert, pragmatic legal advice and broad commercial acumen can help.