Remarriage Trap – What do I need to know?
With an increasing amount of people using the online divorce system, it is becoming common for divorcing parties to leave the matrimonial finances unresolved. Many people are unaware that following a divorce, financial claims are not automatically dismissed and you could fall into the “remarriage trap”.
It is important to be aware of the “remarriage trap” and the potential risks to you of getting remarried without first having resolved the finances from your previous marriage. In simple terms, if you remarry without having a Financial Remedy Order addressing the division of the matrimonial assets then you will be barred from making an application for financial provision. This includes any applications for a lump sum, property adjustment, periodical payments or pension attachment order. The only application that remains open under the remarriage trap is for a pension sharing order.
The consequences of the remarriage trap can be brutal, as it could result in you losing the right to claim any assets from your ex-spouse that you may have been entitled to as a result of your divorce.
There is no limit on when a financial claim can be brought, and therefore even if you re-marry and build up assets within your new relationship, your ex-spouse is still able to make an application for financial provision. This can involve you having to provide detailed financial disclosure of your financial circumstances, including any joint property and assets held with your new spouse.
The case of E v E  acts as a reminder of the importance of avoiding the remarriage trap, in this case the parties had agreed the wife would pay to the husband a lump sum of £250,000. The husband’s solicitor filed the Consent Order with the Court however; the husband had remarried three days earlier. Singer J stated that the Court did not have jurisdiction to make the Order and it was therefore declined meaning that the wife did not have to pay the lump sum to the husband.
It is vital that matrimonial finances are resolved in any event, but especially if re-marriage is on the cards. The easiest way to avoid the trap is to ensure that all financial matters have been finalised before you remarry. This can either be done by obtaining an Order by consent or by making an application for financial provision prior to remarrying.