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Inheritance received after final financial order made
When dealing with financial matters following a divorce, it is always advisable to have a final Order which sets out the agreement reached. Once a final Order is made in respect of financial matters, it is only in “exceptional circumstances” that this can be varied. It had been thought that such cases were very unusual.
However in the recent case of Critchell, the husband received a significant inheritance only one month of the parties had agreed a Consent Order in respect of financial matters.
Following the final Order in respect of financial matters, Mr Critchell’s father had died. He left him £180,000. In addition, the father wrote off a debt of £85,000. Mrs Critchell appealed out of time against the Finance Order made. The matter came before the Court of Appeal.
Although the Court of Appeal indicated that the cases in which an event after a final Order is made can overturn the original Order are “extremely rare”. In this case, the original Order was varied.
Therefore, although such applications will be “exceptional” or “rare”, it may be possible if for example one party receives an inheritance or a lottery win after a final order is agreed for the order to be varied.
In the case of Critchell the assets were limited and it is not certain that such an order would be made in a case where both parties have substantial assets.
Beverley Watkins said that if there is a significant event after a final Order is made, it is always worth seeking specialist independent legal advice.