Divorcee Who Acts in Haste Pays the Price
Appeals against ancillary relief orders (the name lawyers give to the financial settlements in divorce cases) must be lodged within fourteen days of the order being made. To most people, this may seem to be a very short period indeed for the person receiving the settlement to resist changing their financial circumstances in a way that would allow an appeal against the court order. Normally, after the fourteen-day period has expired, the ancillary relief order cannot be disputed. However, in some cases it is possible to appeal after the set period and to obtain a revision of the settlement.
In a recent case, a wife divorced her husband and was awarded seventy per cent of their assets on the basis that she needed to re-house herself and at least one of their children. A month after the order for ancillary relief was made, she got engaged to a very wealthy man, whom she subsequently married. Although out of time for the appeal, her ex-husband was successful in obtaining a hearing and an order for a reduction in the settlement.
Such out of time appeals are allowed when a new event occurs which invalidates a fundamental assumption of the original order – in other words, the change must be of such magnitude that the probability of obtaining a revision of the order is very high. In addition, the application for an out of time appeal must be made within a reasonable period after the original order and be made promptly once the new circumstances are known about. Lastly, the court will not prejudice the interests of third parties who have acquired property in good faith which is part of the relevant order.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.