A common misconception with divorce is that once you are divorced and the Decree Absolute has been made by the court, neither party can make any financial claims against the other in relation to property, pensions, income etc. The legal position is not as straightforward as this, however
The financial claims that spouses have against each other are only extinguished when there is a court order to dismiss them. Until this point, your ex-spouse could still make an application to the court many years after the marriage has ended for financial remedy. A high-profile case Vince v Wyatt  UKSC 14 which was heard in the Supreme Court showed this was still possible even 22 years after the divorce!
We have acted for ex-spouses previously where they did not seek a Consent Order at the end of Divorce Proceedings which meant that the financial claims were still ‘live’ and were pursued by their ex-spouse many years later.
It might be that you had a verbal agreement with your spouse about the financial issues but never sought to convert this agreement into a Consent Order. Issues can also arise if there were other assets, such as a joint life policy, that were not considered at the time of divorce and a later claim is made against this asset Without the protection of a Consent Order, it can be very difficult and expensive to prove this agreement potentially years in the future.
To avoid the surprise legal costs and stress of a claim by an ex-spouse many years after the divorce we can prepare a Consent Order which, once approved by the court, can dismiss the claims each party has against the other, meaning that except for the terms of the agreement, no further claims by either party can be made.
If you reach agreement on the terms of settlement with your spouse, then neither party will need to attend court. This order can also create a ‘clean break’ meaning that both parties are financially independent and neither can make a further claim arising from the marriage.
Even if the agreement reached with your spouse is to make no claims against each other, it is best to protect this with a Consent Order dismissing all claims either party may have.
To help provide the peace of mind you need about the financial issues at the end of a divorce, the family department can prepare a Consent Order tailor made to your circumstances to reflect the agreement with your ex-spouse. If you would like further advice on this then please contact us