When going through divorce proceedings it is important to avoid falling into the “remarriage trap”. This occurs when the Decree Absolute is made, enabling the parties to remarry, and a party re-marries before making an application for a financial order. In this case the party that has remarried is caught in the remarriage trap and will be unable to make an application for financial provision or property adjustment orders under the Matrimonial Caused Act 1973. The right to apply for a Pension Sharing Order is not lost after re-marriage. It is therefore sensible to finalise the financial matters relating to the marriage before re-marriage.
An application for a financial order can be made within the divorce petition itself or by filing an application in Form A with the court. It is usual practice to make the application for the financial order on behalf of the petitioner within the divorce petition to ensure their claims are left open even in the event of their subsequent re-marriage.
Spousal maintenance claims are automatically dismissed on re-marriage irrespective of whether an application for a financial order has been made or not.
It is also important to understand that even when a Decree Absolute has been made, financial claims are not automatically dismissed. Claims can only be dismissed if a court makes a final order to that effect or a consent order is filed by the parties dismissing their mutual claims.
The easiest way to avoid falling into the trap is to ensure that the financial matters have been resolved before marrying a new partner.
If you would like to discuss any options set out in this article with a member of our team, please contact 01444 472700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an initial consultation.