Friday, 13 March 2009

Divorced couples head back to court

Divorced Shropshire couples say the credit crunch is forcing them back to court to challenge financial payouts. Nadia Davis, who leads our Family Team, said there had been a real increase in the number of couples rushing back to court.

“It seems that in light of the difficult financial times, many people are finding that they just cannot keep up with the maintenance arrangements which were made when the economy was so much stronger. And of course we all know that the state of the economy is constantly changing – so at the moment, it may well be that a couple agree on a payout, but before it’s even finalised, the market has changed again.

“This means we’re seeing husbands delaying things until the last possible moment, or asking for additional time to pay. They know that by the time they have to come up with the money, their circumstances may be even more unstable, and so they may have to pay even less.”

Nadia said if an unforeseeable event happened after a divorce, the law allowed a former spouse to go back to ask for the deal to be looked at again. “But the real question is whether the economic downturn was foreseeable, or whether these spouses are just making the most of it as an opportunity to reduce the payments they have to make.

“No-one can accurately predict how long the credit crunch will last, and it’s clear that spouses cannot be expected to pay maintenance they cannot afford. But it’s vital that couples take professional advice on how best to proceed in order to protect their financial future.”