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familylawexpert, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 311
Experience:  Substantial experience (14yrs +) in divorce, financial cases, cohabitation, pre-nuptial agreements and civil partnerships.
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Is there a time limit on seeking a financial settlement?

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My husband divorced his first wife 26 years ago after 10 years of marriage. My husband jointly owned two flats with his mother at that time.  He and his wife were living in a flat owned by his mother. Following a court case my husband was awarded care and control of their two children. There has never been a financial settlement as we were advised at the time that unless his ex-wife pushed for one we should let things lie. His ex-wife continued to live in the rented flat (belonging to my mother in law) and has paid a small rent to my mother in law ever since. My husband didn't apply for maintenance for the children and they lived with us until they went to university. We have three children of our own.

The situation remains fraught as his ex-wife has continued to be angry and upset and sends abusive letters to my mother in law and makes constant demands with regards XXXXX XXXXX that needs to be done in the property, which she generally complies with. 

We married 25 years ago and this lack of a settlement has been hanging over us for many years as we worry that at some point his ex-wife could return to court to get a settlement and we would need to sell our family home. There is also the issue of my husband's pension which presumably his ex-wife could make a claim on. 

We're now at the point where we are considering giving her notice which may well provoke her into seeking a settlement.  

We've no idea how best to proceed and whether we should take some action as my mother in law is very stressed and in some ways I think we probably need to seek a resolution now although my husband's ex-wife is likely to thwart anything we suggest.


My name is Mac. I can help you with your question.

The very short answer is that there is no automatic cut-off to the time for making a financial claim on divorce. If the ex-wife has remarried, then some of her claims would have been dismissed. I do not anticipate from the information you have provided that that is the case.

To give you an idea of what her claim might be, I need a bit more information:

- is your husband currently financially supporting her?
- what was their approximate total assets when divorced?
- what is his total assets now (roughly)?
- what do they each earn now?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Mac,


Thanks for your response. Here is the additional information you asked for:


She hasn't remarried. My husband isn't financially supporting her. When they divorced his ex-wife had no assets in her own name. My husband's assets at that time would have been around £70,000, which constituted a half share in two flats owned jointly with his mother. His total assets would be our property which is worth around £550,000 and we have a £120,000 mortgage outstanding. He retired 7 years ago and is on a health service pension of £17,000 per year. His ex-wife is on benefits and doesn't work as far as I'm aware.


I hope that that helps.


Many thanks


Thanks Lorna.

Do you and your husband own your property (your home presumably?) jointly?

Do the two of you have any other assets?

What happened to the two flats your husband had a share of?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, we own the property jointly. We have no other assets apart from our car which is probably worth £3000. The two flats were sold many years ago and the proceeds put towards our own property. We still have one dependent child at home aged 16.




The ex-wife does still have a claim but it is likely to be very modest. If she were to make a claim I would recommend btt the two of you reject it firmly. That said, it would be better to pay her say £20k than spend it on legal fees. I would only offer something like that as a very last resort though. She does have a claim but it is very difficult to say with certainty what it is worth - I'm sorry not to be more reassuring than that. If she hasnt made a claim so far it is probably best that you don't start one yourselves, but simply deal with the matters on the basis that there is no claim, and see how far she pushes things.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That's really helpful Mac as I was working on the somewhat catastrophic assumption that she could take half our property and we would have to sell up. I'm aware that there are no guarantees but I really appreciate your guidance.



Even on that worst-case view, she would only get half your husband's interest, ie one-quarter of the whole. But I am of the view that the length of time since their separation, and the absence of current financial support would help to substantially erode the value of her claim.

Kind regards,