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Ensure a ‘clean break’ when divorcing

Separating couples are being warned that financial matters should be settled upon divorce following a high profile court case which saw a woman awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds 20 years after her marriage ended.

In the case, watched with interest by divorce and family law experts, a multi-millionaire entrepreneur was taken to court by his ex-wife who demanded a share of his fortune, despite it being some years since the pair divorced.

In matrimonial cases there is no time limit following the divorce for issuing a financial claim, and now the Supreme Court has approved the payment of £300,000 to the ex-wife with a further £325,000 in legal fees.

Helen Lucking of the Family team at regional law firm Napthens, said: “This case has come about because there was no clean break order obtained following the divorce, which effectively closes the door to further claims.

“Unlike other civil proceedings, there is no time limit in matrimonial financial matters, so a claim can potentially remain live for many years.

“There is currently debate as to whether this result will lead to further applications, but it certainly highlights the importance of getting good legal advice during a separation, particularly in relation to obtaining a clean break order.

“In the majority of cases, an application is made to the court for an order which is approved by the judge, and which cuts all future financial ties between the parties allowing them both to move forward.”

Family and Divorce - Partner - Helen Lucking