Remarrying without sorting your finances could spell trouble further down the line
Q: I am divorced but when my former spouse and I separated things were amicable and we kept financial agreements friendly as opposed to legally binding. However, I am now hoping to re-marry my new partner - is this a problem for finances in the future?
A: Whilst I commend you for remaining on good terms and ending your marriage amicably, where finances are concerned it is always best to be professional.
Your Decree Absolute legally ends a marriage - but it doesn’t end your financial commitments to your former spouse - unless you put a clean break order or consent order in place. Without these crucial legal documents, they could make a claim against your finances in the future.
You don’t mention which financial agreements you have that remain friendly, but if you have property, make sure either one of you owns it and that full ownership is transferred. If this was already done as part of any divorce proceedings, make sure you don’t hold anything else in joint names, such as bank accounts. Not only is this important as part of the financial process of ending your marriage, if either you or your former spouse passes away, this could have tax implications for you as well.
What’s more, you may be on good terms with your ex at the moment, but things can change. How do they feel about your new relationship and impending marriage? What would happen if they met someone else and their partner wanted a clean break from you? Also, you don’t mention if you have children or not, but they make official finance arrangements even more important.
You should also consider any pensions you hold. If you’ve not divided these or declared them in any formal legal paperwork, you might find your former spouse can access them. Equally, you might also need a court order to get a share of a pension - making things tricky later on in older age.
Without a clean break order, your ex can claim against money you’ve acquired after your divorce, such as an inheritance. If you plan to keep this windfall for any children, to help with their education or first home purchase, you might find your funds are diverted to your ex - and how would your current partner feel about that? Particularly if you plan to have children together in your new marriage.
In other words, it’s really important to sever financial ties with your ex - and it is possible to do that whilst also keeping things friendly. Not only is it important to have an emotional clean break, you need to have a fresh start financially.
Before you re-marry, make sure you seek legal advice. Contact the family team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.