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What is a ‘Clean Break’ during a divorce?

In every divorce case we handle, we emphasise the desirability of achieving the so-called “Clean Break”.  This means that all potential financial claims arising out of having been married are dealt with at the time of the divorce.  It creates certainty so that there are no loose ends or unresolved claims which might crop up in years to come.  Such an order is desirable because (some would say contrary to common sense) the right to apply to the Court for what is now called “Financial Remedy” is created by starting the divorce, and survives after Decree Absolute, so even in a case where the couple have no money and wish to make no claims against each other, both will be advised that obtaining a “Clean Break” Order from the Court is best practice.

This has been highlighted again in a recently reported case called A -v- B (No. 2) in which the husband and wife were respectively 59 and 61.  They had married in 1983 and were divorced as long ago as 1992, twenty-six years ago.  Despite the passage of time the husband applied to the Court – even though by that time he had re-married.

Ultimately his application failed, mainly because the Court found that the parties had reached an informal agreement shortly after their divorce.  No doubt however by that time each party had expended a substantial amount in legal costs, especially as the case was considered important enough to be heard by a distinguished High Court Judge and the parties were represented by very senior and experienced family finance Barristers.

There was no doubt a great deal of anxiety as well for both parties.  However, this article is just to draw attention to the fact that if the parties had spent a relatively modest amount of money when they separated in having their agreements properly drawn up in a Court Order, neither of them would have been in a position to even contemplate making a further financial application and all the heartache and expense of this latest legal case would have been avoided.

If you are contemplating divorce or are divorced and need advice about resolving the financial aspects, then please call us for free on 0800 1979 345 today to arrange an initial consultation.

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