It is imperative that you resolve financial matters ancillary to divorce prior to remarrying; or you could fall into the remarriage trap!
A petitioner (the person applying to the court for a divorce) will generally complete the relevant boxes to indicate they wish to pursue a financial claim against the other party. If this is not completed or the other party does not complete the relevant section in their answer to the petition, either party may lodge an application known as the Form A with the court to resolve the same. There is no time limit in which a party may seek a financial order provided that their application has been made in the petition or answer and this was not dismissed when the divorce was finalised by the pronouncement of Decree Absolute.
Although there is no time limit in place, any award provided when dealing with financial matters is affected by the delay and the remarriage of a party.
Section 28(3) of the Matrimonial Causes Act prohibits a party who has remarried from applying for a financial provision order in their favour or a property adjustment order once Decree Absolute has been pronounced.
This means you cannot apply to the court for periodical payments, secured periodical payments, a lump sum, the transfer of property from one party to the other, settlement of property for the benefit of one or both parties, or to vary a nuptial settlement for the benefit of one or both parties.
If you have secured a financial settlement prior to finalising your divorce which includes a provision for periodical or secured periodical payments, it should be noted that this ends once the person receiving payment remarries or they pass away or by further Court order. If you have been granted secured periodical payments, this may continue after the death of the person providing the same.
Putting this into context, parties agree with that one of them can remain in the matrimonial home with the children following their divorce. No formal agreement has been reached. The husband or wife then remarries. Section 28(3) bars them from making an application for a property adjustment order or a lump sum for their share in the property.
The Court of Appeal in the case of Whitehouse-Piper v Stokes confirmed that if the person who remarries was the petitioner in the divorce and they have indicated their intention to pursue a financial claim within the petition, this is sufficient for the court to deal with their financial claim even after they remarry.
In the case of E v E , the wife petitioned for divorce in 2003 and obtained Decree Absolute later that year. The parties had been negotiating a financial settlement and a Consent Order was drawn up in July 2005. The wife held the bulk of the wealth acquired outside the marriage and agreed to pay £250,000 to the husband. Within the Consent Order, it was made clear that the same would only become effective once it had been approved by the Court. The husband remarried in August 2005 and the Consent Order together with Form A was lodged with the court a few days later by the husband’s solicitors. Mr Justice Singer stated this case fell within section 28(3) of the Matrimonial Causes Act and therefore the Court had no jurisdiction to approve the Consent Order. He did consider whether a Form A issued by the wife would be sufficient however she could not apply for an Order against herself.
You may still apply for a pension sharing order if you remarry provided this has not been dismissed within the divorce.
You may also wish to consider making an application to the court under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act in respect of any property held jointly or Schedule 1 of the Children Act if further financial support is required to support the children of the family.
For any further information, contact a member PMC Family Law Solicitors today on 0151 375 9968 or email for your initial consultation.