In our weekly legal column, the Leader, with the expert advice of the team at GHP Legal, sets out to answer some of your problems. Today’s question is answered by partner Nathan Wright…
Are financial issues sorted out in online divorce?
Q: After reading about the new divorce procedure I have applied for a divorce online, in order to save money. However, I am now getting worried because my husband has stopped paying the bills and I think he has started hiding his money before the divorce comes through. Will the online judge sort this out for me?
A: The new ‘no fault’ divorce procedure is welcomed by all in the legal profession as it means that divorcing spouses can apply for a divorce without having to make allegations against the other during what is already a difficult time. However, there seems to be a misconception that the ‘no fault’ divorce procedure also deals with financial and children issues, but this is not the case and anyone considering a separation should seek legal advice before taking any steps.
In your case you may need to apply to the court for a financial Order, an urgent order for maintenance to ensure the bills are paid, and possibly a freezing injunction to prevent your husband from dissipating assets. Nothing will be sorted out in relation to money or children unless the correct application is made, and the correct procedure is followed.
The online divorce portal only deals with the divorce itself and if money matters are not also resolved divorcees can find themselves having to endure financial hardship as a result. Even if financial issues are agreed, there will still need to be a financial Order lodged with and approved by the court, or divorcees could face difficulties in the future in relation to housing, debt, pension entitlement and inheritance.
Although the online system has made some aspects of separation less painful, people do still need to ensure that their legal positions are protected.
• This question has been answered by Nathan Wright, a partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194.