Q&A - Can ex-wife apply to the Court for more money even though we are divorced?

Q:    After I came home unexpectedly and found my wife in our bed with another man, we split up and she went to live with this other chap. We lived apart for two years and then got a quickie divorce to keep costs down. I stayed in the house and took over the mortgage which I increased to give her half the equity. The decree absolute came through, and that was that - or so I thought.

Now, even though I have remarried, my ex-wife wants the house revalued so she can apply to the court for more money. She says she has split up with her chap and cannot afford to buy her own house with what I gave her. How can she do this after getting the decree absolute?

A:    It sounds as if you failed to obtain a clean break Order from the Court as well as getting your divorce. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not realise the Decree Absolute only dissolves the marriage, it does not sever financial ties.

Had you sought proper legal advice rather than opting for the ‘quickie’ online option, you would have been advised that the divorce process alone does not end one spouse’s financial responsibilities to the other. Financial responsibility can only come to an end with a ‘clean break’ Order from the Court. Without that, your ex-wife can technically apply to the court at any time in the future for a share of a surprise windfall like winning the lottery, an inheritance, a slice of your pension and even a share of your estate after you die.

Most solicitors offer individually tailored, fixed fee advice about separation, children and finances, so getting that advice before proceeding with any application to the court can actually be a cheaper and wiser option than finding out after the divorce that you are still financially responsible for your ex.

Article 18/01/2021

This question has been answered by Nathan Wright, a Partner with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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Nathan Wright

Nathan Wright

Partner

A Partner specialising in Family and Matrimonial Law

Alison Peters

Alison Peters

Partner

A Partner in our Family and Matrimonial department in Oswestry