Things to Watch Out for With New No-Fault Divorce – Part 2
17 March 2022 by Simon Osborn
Obviously, at the point of a final divorce order the parties are no longer married. Therefore, if one party has a pension which provides for widows benefits, for instance Police, NHS, Army etc., then, if the pension holder dies after the final divorce order the other party may lose significant financial benefits that they would otherwise have under the pension scheme. A similar situation could arise in relation to a policy or death in service benefits under a contract of employment.
The final divorce order may also affect the entitlement of a spouse to inherit from the other spouse in the event of death. A spouse will lose the right to inherit if the other spouse dies without making a Will. Even if the deceased spouse has made a Will, after the final divorce order the other spouse will lose the right to act as executor or trustee or to receive any gift under that Will, unless the contrary appears in the Will.
Furthermore, the right of occupation of a spouse to reside in the matrimonial home which is registered in the other spouse’s sole name will come to an end on the final divorce order, unless that period is extended by the court.
If there is a pension sharing order in place, this will only take effect from the later of the date which the final divorce order is made or 28 days from the date of the pension sharing order has been made or longer if there is an appeal. It is important not to apply for the final divorce order until the expiry of the 28 day period (or longer if there is an appeal) because, if the pension holder were to die before then, the pension sharing order would not be effective and the other spouse would not be entitled to receive any widows benefits under the pension scheme.
It is a myth that financial claims cannot be made by a former spouse after a final divorce order. In fact there is no time limit by which an application for a financial remedy can be made, although the remarriage of a former spouse will significantly limit the claims which can be made by that spouse, and delay can be a factor taken into account. It is, therefore, very important that the parties agree to a final financial settlement which is incorporated into a binding financial consent order approved by the court to prevent a later financial claim when the parties financial circumstances may be very different from what they were at the time of separation, for instance if one party has received an inheritance.
If you would like to arrange a confidential chat with one of our experienced family law solicitors as to how they can support you through your divorce, or you would like further information on the services we offer, please call 01206 835320 or email [email protected]
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