Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Family Lore Clinic: What difference does it make to a consent order if you intend to remarry?

The person who asked this question was clearly referring to the Statement of information for a consent order form. The form is required by the court whenever a divorcing couple wish to apply to the court for a consent order, giving effect to an agreed financial/property settlement. Each party must complete the form, setting out basic details of their circumstances.

The reason that the court requires the form is that it needs to know the basic circumstances of the parties so that it can decide whether the order that it is being asked to make is reasonable (the court will not make the order if if doesn't consider it reasonable, despite the fact that both parties agree to it). One of those circumstances is whether either party has remarried or has any intention to remarry.

So the questioner is really asking: Will the fact that I intend to remarry stop the court from making the consent order?

The answer to this depends upon the terms of the agreed settlement, and all the other circumstances of the case. Obviously, remarriage will have a bearing upon that party's future needs, both in terms of income and capital (particularly housing needs), as they will normally be able to pool their income and capital with that of their new spouse. Accordingly, they may not need as much from the old marriage as they would have done if they were not remarrying.

So, for example, a settlement that gives one party the lion's share of the assets may not be appropriate if that party intends to remarry. On the other hand, if the settlement was a simple equal division, then the fact that one party intends to remarry may have no bearing.

Obviously, the above is a brief simplified outline of what can be a complex topic, and there are an infinite number of different sets of circumstances. If you require detailed advice regarding your case then you should consult a specialist family lawyer.

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