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A legal guide to life after divorce

Posted on 05th April 2022 in Family Law

A legal guide to life after divorce

If you have recently divorced, you may be wondering what happens next. Going through the divorce process can be challenging, and even after you have come to an agreement, there may still be legal matters left unresolved.

When you are 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.


Enforcing your financial consent order

Your financial consent order is a written document that sets out clearly how your assets and finances will be divided in divorce. It may also include any ongoing financial arrangements, including maintenance payments. How do you make sure the financial consent order is followed?


Transferring property

One party may be required to transfer ownership of a shared property to the other and also transfer the mortgage. The procedure is similar to a sale of the property and a conveyancer will need to be instructed to deal with the formal requirements and subsequent registration of the transfer with the land registry. Your solicitor will advise you of the costs associated with the transfer.


Selling property

You may have agreed to sell the property and divide the profit. The consent order should record who has conduct of the sale, this may be joint or sole conduct. You will need to agree the choice of estate agents and solicitors and the selling price.

There may be contents to be sorted out and ideally you should have prepared a schedule of the contents before the consent order was finalised. You should always try and agree how they are to be split between you, if there is no agreement then ultimately the contents will need to be sold and the proceeds divided. Remember that re-sale values can often be much less.

Try and agree on how any other unwanted items can be disposed of or sold. It is important that you agree how the property can be made ready for sale so that you both benefit from achieving the best possible sale price.

If any work has to be done to make ready the property for sale then you will need to agree how that work is to be funded. If necessary, consider whether one parties share of this cost needs to be deducted from their share of the sale proceeds, for example if they are unable to make an upfront payment.


Maintenance payments

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.

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.


Find out more

To find out more about separation, divorce, or any other aspects touched on in this article, please contact our legal experts.

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