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The Importance of having a Financial Consent Order Sealed by the Court

We have highlighted in previous blogs the importance of ensuring that a financial agreement is reached and signed in divorce proceedings. The cases that were discussed highlighted that in certain circumstances, a party may be awarded a financial remedy years after divorce.

However, in a recent case of A v B (No. 2) [2018] EWFC 45 the Judge concluded that the circumstances of the case did not justify any order for financial provision for the husband. This case has been distinguished from the likes of Wyatt v Vince for the following reasons:-

  1. The parties in A v B (No.2) reached an agreement as to the division of their assets following their divorce in 1992 to 1994. Endowment policies were split, the wife (‘W’) took on the responsibility of the matrimonial debts and also paid child maintenance to the husband (‘H’). Contrastingly, in Wyatt v Vince, the wife was left without any financial support whatsoever.
  2. The children resided with H in a large rent-free property provided by W. Further, the property was extended and renovated at no cost to H and W allowed him have lodgers live in the property and keep any rent they paid. W paid child maintenance which was increased periodically. The applicant in Wyatt v Vince was left to care for the children with little or no assistance.
  3.  The Judge accepted that H did have financial needs although not on the scale of the applicant wife in Wyatt v Vince. H had a new wife who also owned a property in which he could reside, therefore W could not be asked to meet H’s housing needs.
  4. H claimed that he suffered a disadvantage in his career because he had to arrange his life around his responsibilities for his children and therefore had a claim for compensation.  The Judge accepted that the children lived with him however H was in a series of relationships and those women had assisted with childcare which allowed H to work full-time.
  5. W in this case assumed all financial obligation towards H, unlike Wyatt v Vince. The Judge said it was evident that W had arranged her finances in this way on the assumption that H could not make a claim against her.

The Judge concluded that the reason for the delay was because both parties believed that they had resolved the financial issues in their divorce by coming to an informal agreement back in 1992. The case was only brought to Court when the husband was alerted in 2015 that his claim may have survived.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Lynn Gooch on 020 8502 3991 for more information.