Re-marriage, as the old adage goes, is the triumph of hope over experience. I was reminded of this by a friend recently who was thinking of remarrying their new significant other before they had sorted the finances following their divorce from their ex.
They, like many people, presumed that financial claims are automatically dismissed when the Divorce is made final. This is not the case and, at the risk of being a party pooper, I had to point out that if they remarried without sorting the finances first then they would be barred from ever invoking the divorce law to do so. The only person who could use the divorce law would be their ex. And they won’t if there is a financial disadvantage to them. We refer to this as the re-marriage trap.
Now this didn’t matter to them; they are young (at heart!), foolish and in love and I expect an invite to the nuptials any day; but for most people the consequences of not sorting the finances out upon divorce can be significant. As an example, if got divorced and then remarried before you sorted out your entitlement to your ex’s huge pension, you will lose the right to get it. Nightmare!
Divorce law gives great flexibility to use the pensions, property, savings and income of both parties to sort out the best way that the assets of the marriage should be divided, and always puts the interests of any children first. If you lose that flexibility as you have re-married before sorting things out it can be problematic.
Say you and your ex own the house you live in with your kids, and your ex now wants to have his or her share out of it. Under divorce law the interests of children are paramount; that is, their interests are the absolute first consideration for the Court. However, if you cannot use divorce law, your ex can invoke the law that deals with unmarried couples who own property together, and there the Court will see the welfare of the children as just one of the matters they must have regard to. A very different scenario.
Dealing with the finances after you have divorced is not the first thing many people want to do. It is more expensive, but the cost of not doing it can be much greater in the long run. Go and see a Resolution lawyer to assist with the triumph of hope over experience.