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Assets Lost Due to Delaying Financial Settlement

By Principal Lawyer, Family Law

A woman has lost out on up to a fifth of her matrimonial assets after delaying her application for a financial settlement eight years after her divorce.

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Ms Briers separated from her husband in 2002 and the decree absolute, ending their marriage, was pronounced in 2005. Yet she only applied for a financial remedy order in 2013 and because of this delay, Mr Briers argued that his ex should be entitled to less.

In the UK there is no statutory time limit for bringing an application for a financial settlement upon divorce. However, a delay could well impact on the level of the award so it is always prudent to obtain a financial settlement at the time of your divorce to avoid future uncertainties.

This case was taken to The Court of Appeal where they found the husband’s claims he and Ms Briers reached an agreement on their finances on divorce back in 2005 to be invalid because he failed to make full financial disclosure, which was a condition of the wife's acceptance to the offer.

If you are going through a divorce, you have to provide a ‘full and frank’ financial disclosure that details all your financial assets.

If you are going through a divorce, you have to provide a ‘full and frank’ financial disclosure that details all your financial assets. You must complete what is known as Form E with details that set out your financial position and provide supporting documents as evidence.

Learn more about financial disclosure upon divorce by reading What is Form E? and What documents do I need to provide by way of Financial Disclosure?

However, despite the husband’s failure to make a full financial disclosure, the court agreed with the judge that the wife’s share in the division of assets should be decreased because she couldn’t give a good reason as to why she delayed her application for so long.

Upon marriage, both spouses have claims against each other in respect of income, capital and pension. In this case, both the husband and the wife would have had an equal claim to their matrimonial assets but because of Ms Briers’ responsibility for the delay to proceedings she only received 27 to 30 per cent of their overall assets.

If you were divorced a number of years ago without a court order then we can advise you in relation to any financial claim that may still be open. Contact the divorce solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will be happy to assist.

Lorraine Harvey is a senior family law solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers based in Manchester.

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