Does it Matter if I Finalise my Divorce before Agreeing the Matrimonial Finances?

By Jenna Brewer

Senior Associate

The divorce process now has an in-built period of 20 weeks from the date of application before the final order can be applied for. It is hoped that parties will be able to utilise that time to come to an agreement in respect of the matrimonial finances.  If parties can come to an agreement within that timeframe it is possible for the financial agreement to be considered and approved by the court prior to the first date on which the final divorce order can be made. This however is not always possible especially where hearings are required as agreement cannot be reached or expert reports are needed. 

If the final order of divorce is applied for before the financial order is sealed by the court then benefits that a party would be entitled to by virtue of being a spouse (i.e. a widow or widower’s pension or home rights) will be lost on the final divorce order being pronounced.  This can be particularly relevant if one party dies prior to the financial order being made.  Also there could be other tax implications to be considered on the division of the assets as the parties will no longer be married.

Once the final order is pronounced it cannot be rescinded if you change your mind or if circumstances mean that by having made the application you have lost out.  Though it may be tempting to finalise your divorce when the prompt email from the divorce portal is emailed to you, clicking the button too early may have unintentional financial consequences.

For more information on family matters or to find out how we can help you, please contact our Family Team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be in touch.