When will I have to pay my ex following our divorce?


A financial order is made by the court when two parties reach an agreement regarding their finances. If parties cannot agree, a Judge can impose and make orders following a final hearing at court.

The following provisions are typically included in court orders: 

  • An order in relation to who will own the family home going forward and who has responsibility for any mortgage
  • Who will own any investment properties
  • What will happen to individual and joint bank accounts, building society accounts and national savings accounts
  • What will happen to any shares, PEPs, ISAs, TESSAs, bonds, stocks, unit trusts, investment trusts, gilts and so on held by you or your spouse
  • Whether life insurance polices will continue
  • The distribution of personal assets, cars, art collections, furniture, jewellery and other items
  • Who will take responsibility for any liabilities, such as loans, credit cards, overdrafts, hire purchase agreements 
  • If either of you own a business, what will happen to the business in terms of directorships, shares and so on
  • Whether there will be any sharing of pensions
  • Consideration of all sources of income and whether monthly payments of child or spousal maintenance are agreed

In any financial order, there are usually periods of time included to ensure that one party does what they are supposed to do. For example, if a property is being transferred to a husband, and to transfer that property the husband is paying his wife a lump sum, an order may say that the property should be transferred within 28 days, with the lump sum being paid simultaneously on completion of the transfer.  

Another order may simply include a lump sum payment, due to be paid within 28 days from the date the order was made. Orders of this nature also include provisions for late payments, and provisions for interest, if the payment of a lump sum is delayed.

Such provisions also ensure that payments are made on time, so that one party is not left in limbo once orders are made.

Practically, orders can be made so that the parties can comply with them, and if parties agree a period for certain payments to be made, there are no surprises in relation to when they become due.

The court can often make orders for one party to pay spousal maintenance to another. Maintenance is usually for a specified term, and payments are made every month. This may be for a number of years, until there is a terminating event, which can be the end of the term or if the payee remarries. Maintenance can also be capitalised, and a lump sum can be negotiated.

If a party refuses to comply with a court order, then they can be held in contempt in court. The court indicated in a recent case between Mr and Mrs Rogan that Mr Rogan risks imprisonment if he does not pay the £56,000 owed to Mrs Rogan within five months.   

When a party fails to comply with a court order, like Mr Rogan, the aggrieved party can take steps to enforce the order. While there is a range of enforcement options available, this is often a difficult and frustrating area of Family Law, and obtaining the right advice is important.

When financial orders are made, it is important that both parties understand what is required of them, including being aware of when monies need to be paid, and for spousal maintenance, how much is paid and for how long. At McAlister Family Law, we ensure that our clients are fully advised in relation to all available options when finalising a divorce and when financial obligations need to be complied with.

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