Could My Ex Re-open Our Divorce Deal?

Date: March 21st, 2012 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

Henry Brookman provides the answer to a Financial Times’ `Wealth Question’ regarding the circumstances which may or may not cause a divorce deal to be reconsidered by the court.

Financial settlements agreed during divorce often take into account assets such as property or business interests, as well as debts.  But what happens if the financial settlement turns out to favour one party more than the other after, for instance, a property increases in value, or the debts were less significant than originally assessed? Can either party request to have the settlement reconsidered?

For the most part, once a divorce is finalised and the financial terms are wrapped up in a court order, it is unlikely that either party could reopen their claim. The valuer can only fix a settlement value at a point in time and they must use their skill and judgment to put a figure on what could be a not entirely known quantity.

For example, the value of property or land is typically decided during the divorce, however, those assets could significantly change in value in the months and years after divorce.  In one case, a husband took on the responsibility for paying a large tax bill which was therefore taken into consideration when the assets were divided.  However, due to unforeseen circumstances after the divorce, the tax liability turned out to be a much lower figure.  In all these cases, the court has held that the parties made their financial agreement and should stick to them.  

There is, however, precedent for a court to reopen a case if something completely outside the scope of the settlement arises.  This comes from the tragic case where, one week after a settlement gave substantial assets to the wife, she killed herself.  In this case, the terms of the order were set aside and the estate did not pass to the deceased wife’s relatives.

If you would like to know more about this issue please contact Brookman Solicitors for more information.


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I can’t recommend Brookman solicitors enough. I met with Mr Aziz Malik from Brookman solicitors for a case that had an international dimension to it, and found him extremely competent, professional, reassuring and empathetic. Knowing that my case was time sensitive, Mr Aziz was quick to initiate the legal process, kept me updated on the case progress, responded very promptly to all my correspondence, gave very sincere legal advice and addressed all my concerns in a very patient and responsible fashion. He was very involved in the case, and I knew from the get go that my case was in safe hands. Throughout the process, the law firm also kept me posted on the costs of the services I was getting, hence making the process very convenient and transparent for me. The barrister they appointed to represent me at the hearing(s) was equally competent, knowledgeable and articulate. Thanks to Brookman solicitors, the outcome of my case was exactly what I had wished for, and I am beyond delighted. I am extremely grateful to them for their services. Please keep up the good work!

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I engaged Brookman Solicitor's on a particularly complex topic related to international divorce. Henry and his team provided excellent support and his expertise was a critical factor in a successful outcome. I would not hesitate in working with this firm again, or recommending them to others.

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