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What happens to our finances when we get divorced?

View profile for Philip Hoddell
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I have blogged elsewhere about the Ministry of Justice’s current divorce statistics.  Worryingly, it shows that in the last quarter measured, more than 32,000 divorce petitions were issued but only about a third of them led to financial issues being resolved. The number of divorces are going up, and the number of financial resolutions is going down.  

Why does this matter?

The law says that when you get divorced, the financial claims you have against your spouse (and they have against you) remain open forever unless a financial order is put in place saying otherwise. In other words, you cannot have a financial clean break from your spouse without a court order. Statistics show that two thirds of people getting divorced do not get a financial order and therefore financial claims could come years later.

Why don’t people get a court order when divorcing?

There are two reasons people don’t get a court order when divorcing:-
1. Some people simply do not know they need one. It may be they decide to do their own divorce (and the government is encouraging people with the online trial to do just that) and do not appreciate that if they do not sort out their finances as well, there could be future claims.
2. Some couples may think that they have little in the way of money to divide without realising that that could all change one day. There is a Supreme Court case where decades after separation, one spouse had made a lot of money and the court said the other could go ahead with a claim, even though they were penniless when they separated.

How should I sort out our finances when divorcing?

It is very important for divorcing couples to consider carefully their financial positions when they separate. This is where the expertise of properly qualified and experienced lawyers comes into its own. We look at the financial situation, both as it is now and how it might be in the future, and can give individually tailored advice about what your best options are.

How can Birkett Long help me in divorce?

Why not give us a call? We offer a free 15 minute chat where we can work out what the issues are in your situation and how you ought to proceed. I am available at our Colchester office on 01206 217320 or alternatively you can email me at
For more information, visit our divorce or ending a relationship section.