More and more people are choosing to issue their own divorce petitions or are instructing online divorce companies at a budget price.
Caution must be exercised when doing so as there can be serious consequences if forms are not completed correctly and the individual isn’t fully advised. This is particularly the case if parties choose to simply deal with dissolving the marriage and are not reaching a financial settlement.
As it stands, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) is the legislation that sets out the rights of spouses upon divorce. One of the subtleties outlined within the Act is what is known as the ‘remarriage trap’.In a nutshell, the Act states that if a person divorces and then remarries without issuing a claim for financial remedy/settlement, they will be barred from seeking certain orders in respect of financial settlement in relation to their previous marriage.
A person’s position can usually be protected in one of two ways;
1) The intention to seek financial orders from the Court can be indicated within the divorce petition itself. This however can usually only be done by the Petitioner in the divorce or
2) A ‘Form A’ can be issued at Court by way of an application for financial remedy. This can be done by either the Petitioner or the Respondent.
It is important that one of these steps are taken BEFORE a person remarries or they could find themselves in a position whereby they are unable to bring a claim for a number of Orders available to them under the MCA 1973. These include property adjustment orders, maintenance orders and lump sum orders.
A person’s rights to marital property are likely to be extremely limited under alternative forums in which they can bring a claim. This often comes as an unpleasant surprise to those who had no knowledge of the effect of their remarriage on their position.
If you are in a position where you are about to remarry and do not have a financial order in respect of your previous marriage and need advice or assistance with issues raised within this article, please contact our Mrs Nia Thomas on 01267 239194 for a free 30 minute consultation.