How long after divorce can I make a financial claim against my spouse?

May 3, 2017

A divorce is supposed to draw a line under a relationship, bringing it to a formal end.

The ideal scenario is that the parties move on, on terms that properly reflect their entitlements on separation. They will have sorted out their differences, made provision for their children, and shared out their money, property and other assets. They’re ready to leave the past behind.

As I said, that’s the ideal. Things don’t always pan out like that.

If you feel that your divorce should have left you in a better financial position (and you haven’t remarried), there’s a chance that you could make a claim against your former partner. And it’s a claim that could be brought long after the divorce dust has settled; there’s no specific time limit on this. In fact, it’s been known for financial issues to be resurrected many, many years down the line. In one well-publicised case an ex-husband agreed to pay £300,000 in response to claim brought by his ex-wife nineteen years after their divorce.

There are pros and cons to this right to bring post-divorce claims, and your perspective on this will depend on whether you are the person bringing the claim (who has something to gain) or responding to one (something to lose). There are two pieces of advice that I’d like to share with you:

The first is to do your best to avoid having to bring, or respond to, a claim at all. Every divorce that I have ever dealt with has centered around one theme – a desire to get things all wrapped up as neatly and with as much certainty as possible. Clients want a clean break, and who wouldn’t? That’s why I would always recommend tackling the financial issues head-on during the separation process. Get to grips with rights, responsibilities and liabilities. Make sure you’re happy with the arrangements that are put in place. It means that a settlement, and the subsequent order issued by the court, can be properly expressed as encapsulating the full terms of separation, and providing that clean break.  

The second is if you are forced to resolve the issues by bringing a claim, don’t delay. Get some advice straight away.

Contact our family team for more advice and information on this or any other divorce or family matter you may need help with.  Call our offices on 01264 353411, email: or complete our  no obligation, online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.




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