There is no limitation period for family finance claims so the short answer is “yes”. Fortunately that’s not the end of it as the courts have used their powers to prevent claims years after the divorce. The best advice is always to get a clean break agreement at the time of the divorce and that stops anything nasty turning up later unless there has been fraud or substantial non-disclosure of assets.
If you don’t have a clean break (and with more DIY divorce we are expecting this to an extent) it may take a decade or more before one can consider that claims will have a very low chance of success. Unfortunately with the very wide-ranging and flexible nature of the family court there are no guarantees even then.
I would also stress that here I am talking about claims after the decree absolute. If you are separated but still married there is no real limit to the time a claim can be made so we are wary even about advising the use of the 5 year separation ground if it can be avoided (and it often can) so as to start the time running. A lot can happen financially and personally in 5 years and when deciding what to do with the family finances the court starts at least by looking at the situation as it is “now” rather than as it was “then” when you separated. This problem can become particularly acute when looking, for example at how businesses may have grown since separation. Post separation growth of pre-separation assets even if wholly down to the efforts of one party only can be a very tricky area indeed.
My personal mantra is that as far as possible your Legal status (married or not) should match your physical status (living together or not).
Andrew is a Commercial & Employment Law solicitor in Leicester. Our Solicitors in Leicester are experts in their fields and dedicated to quality client care. If you would like to find out more about our solicitors in Leicester please contact us.
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