Husband denied financial remedy claim decades after divorce

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A judge has denied a husband’s financial remedy claim almost three decades after a decree nisi was issued.

The case, however, is not uncommon and illustrates the importance of completing a full and final divorce settlement at the time of separation.

According to the report, published in Family Law Week, the couple met in 1980 and married in 1983. They went on to have two children, but the marriage irretrievably broke down in 1991.

The husband filed for divorce, but no copy of the petition could be found “raising the question” as to whether the petition had included an application for financial relief.

There was also a complicated agreement in which the wife acquired a home in which the husband and the children occupied in 2006.

The report says that the wife funded a significant extension to the property, but in 2012, the husband spent sums putting a workshop in the garden at the property to enable him to continue his business from the property.

It was around 2013 that the husband married a new partner, “prompting dialogue in respect of the terms under which he occupied the property”. The husband sought transfer of the property to him for his life time and a lump sum on grounds of relationship generated need and or compensation.

His former wife issued an application to strike out the claim. Mr Justice Baker, ruling in her favour, concluded that the circumstances did not merit any financial provision.

He held “that the parties had reached an informal agreement concerning financial matters in the period 1992 to 1994, with which each was satisfied and which was fair in all the circumstances and that this amounted to a comprehensive resolution of the financial arrangements arising from the marriage and divorce.

He added that “the fact that they had done so by the end of 1994 did not, by itself, preclude either party seeking financial relief, but that it was a significant factor to be taken into account when considering any subsequent claim”.

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