A legal guide to life after divorce
- AuthorLiz Graham
If you have recently divorced, you may be trying to come to terms with what happens next. Going through the divorce process can be challenging, and even after you have come to an agreement in relation to financial issues, there may still be matters left unresolved.
When you have been married to someone, your lives are intricately intertwined, and there are several other legal and practical matters you must address. This article looks at several things you need to consider after your divorce has been settled.
Obtaining and then enforcing a financial order
A financial order is a written document that sets out clearly how your assets and finances will be divided in divorce. For many people this is a document that is agreed between them, rather than having the Court impose the terms, and so you will hear this referred to as an Order by Consent, or Consent Order. It may also include any ongoing financial arrangements, including maintenance payments. It is very important that you obtain such an Order, because without it your claims, and those of your ex spouse, will remain unresolved. Your solicitor will help you with this. Once you have a sealed Order how do you make sure the order is followed?
One party may be required to transfer ownership of a shared property to the other and also arrange for you or the ex spouse to be released from his/her covenants under the mortgage.
You may have agreed to sell the property and divide the profit.
When one spouse is required to pay maintenance to the other, you should ensure a method for making regular payments, such as setting up a standing order.
These are examples, but a solicitor will be able to advise you fully as to how you can ensure the arrangements set out in your financial consent order are followed through.
Update your will
If you made a will before you got divorced, this will is still valid - but it may cause several problems in the event of your death. Most people appoint their spouse as an executor and/or beneficiary of the estate. You need to consider making a fresh will to ensure that there are no such problems.
In England and Wales, the effect of divorce on your will is that it will treat your former spouse as if they predeceased you, meaning that they will no longer be able to act as your executor or benefit from your estate. As a result, it is essential that you appoint another executor and clarify who you wish to inherit from your estate. For the majority of people, the most straightforward way to ensure their estate is distributed without issue and as they would wish is to make a new will.
Change your Power of Attorney
Similarly, if you appointed your ex-spouse as your attorney, you may wish to update your Power of Attorney document. Divorce terminates your spouse’s appointment as your attorney, and if you have not appointed another attorney, you leave yourself without a Power of Attorney in place.
Of course, some couples remain an important part of each other’s lives, so there is no law preventing you from appointing a former spouse as your attorney; it is simply uncommon to do so.
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