Can my ex claim money after a divorce
Divorce  |  Family law  |  Family Mediation

Can my ex claim money after a divorce?

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Walker Family Law
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The mechanics of sorting out finances on divorce can be something of a mystery to many, giving rise to such questions as: is inheritance money split in a divorce?; can I spend money during a divorce?; and: can my ex claim money after a divorce?
Can my ex claim money after a divorce
But in essence the way in which financial settlements on divorce are arrived at is actually quite simple.

The ‘matrimonial pot’

A divorce settlement basically comprises a fair division of the assets and, if appropriate, income provision (i.e. maintenance) for one of the parties.

But this raises two questions: firstly, what are the assets, and secondly, what is a fair division?

The assets to be divided between the parties, often referred to as the ‘matrimonial assets’, usually comprise all of the assets acquired during the marriage, through the joint efforts of the parties to the marriage.

Accordingly, any other assets remain the property of the party owning them.

And this answers the question: is inheritance money split in a divorce? Inheritance money is obviously not acquired as a result of the joint efforts of the parties and is not therefore part of the matrimonial assets. Inheritance money is not therefore split in a divorce.

But there is an exception to this rule, for which we need to look at the issue of fairness.

All things being equal between the parties, fairness dictates that the matrimonial assets should simply be divided equally between the parties.

But things are often not equal. In particular, one party’s financial needs may be greater than the other party’s. In such a case, fairness may dictate that that party should have a greater than half share of the matrimonial assets.

And needs is the reason for the exception to the rule that says that the owning party will keep non-matrimonial assets, such as inheritances and assets acquired before the marriage. Where the matrimonial assets are insufficient to meet the needs of the parties then non-matrimonial assets can be included in the settlement, in order to meet those needs.

And the other thing to say about the division of the assets relates to the question:  can I spend money during a divorce?

Obviously, if one party were to unnecessarily drain the assets then that would leave less for division, and could leave the other party with a smaller settlement than they would otherwise have been entitled to.

Accordingly, the court would expect the parties not to spend money during the divorce, save on essential items.

Can my ex claim money after a divorce?

We turn now to the third question: can my ex claim money after a divorce?

The short answer to this is “no”, provided that a financial remedy order has been made.

A financial remedy order is intended to be final (save for spouse maintenance, which we will come to in a moment), and will therefore normally include a provision stating that all further financial claims by either party against the other are dismissed.

Accordingly, once such an order has been made no further financial claims can be made, save in exceptional circumstances.

And this dismissal of claims is an important reason to get a final order, even where everything has been agreed (in which case it is normally referred to as a ‘consent order’).

As mentioned above, the exception to this finality rule is spouse maintenance, which will continue after the divorce. In such cases the spouse receiving the divorce could later ask for the maintenance to be increased, or even to be ‘capitalised’, so that they receive a lump sum of money instead of the maintenance.

Spouse maintenance orders will last until a specified date (if a date is specified), during the joint lives of the parties, until the recipient remarries, or until the court makes a further order stating that the maintenance should stop.

How can we help?

For further information regarding divorce finances, see the Divorce Finances page.

Walker Family Law are award-winning family solicitors, recognised as one of the leading family law firms in the South West of England with services covering family law & mediation, divorce law, child-law and arbitration.

Please contact us if you require any further information.