Q. I’ve just won the lottery! Not enough to buy an island I’m afraid but certainly enough for me to live comfortably for the next few years. However, as soon as the news broke I had a message from my ex-wife saying that she thinks she is entitled to a share of my winnings. We got divorced last year and we have a Decree Absolute, but she says that because we didn’t finalise the financial proceedings and get a “Clean Break Order” we are still financially tied….is this true?
A. Congratulations on your win. However, I am sorry to tell you that your ex-wife’s comments are indeed true. Until a final Financial Order is made with a provision for a Clean Break, there is a presumption that you and your ex-wife are still financially tied to each other. This means that she can make financial claims against your for a number of things such as a Lump Sum or a Spousal Maintenance Order. She would also be potentially entitled to make a claim against your estate upon your death.
We always strongly advise our clients that the financial aspect of their divorce should be dealt with at the same time as the divorce itself. This way, when the divorce is finalised you can sleep soundly in the knowledge that a Financial Order is in place and there is no risk of you being pursued in the future. You can part ways knowing that all aspects of the marriage are resolved, in other words, a clean break.
If it is your ex-wife’s intention to make a financial claim against you, you should urgently seek the advice of a matrimonial lawyer who can advise you fully on the best way to deal with this.