Reviewing a Financial Settlement After Divorce | Divorce Lawyers & Family Law Solicitors | Austin Kemp

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Reviewing a Financial Settlement After Divorce

In English law, reviewing a financial settlement after divorce is not impossible, albeit very rare.

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Previously, as soon as a financial settlement is finalised and formalised in a Consent Order, any matrimonial financial commitments between the estranged parties are considered legally settled and none of them could make a financial claim against the other in future.

This was the prevailing scenario until the groundbreaking case involving Barder vs Barder in 1987.

In that landmark judgment, the court ruled that an original financial settlement made after divorce can be reviewed under certain conditions. Those conditions are examined later in this post. Since the Barder vs Barder precedent, the expert lawyers and solicitors at Austin Kemp have provided legal representations and advice in this rather uncommon aspect of family law.
How can Austin Kemp’s Divorce Solicitors Help You

Our expert and very experienced divorce solicitors will not only ensure your financial settlement review ends favourably but can also offer you valuable assistance on a range of legal issues relating to financial settlement in divorce, including:

  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Cohabitation agreements
  • Post-civil partnership agreements
  • Divorce
  • Domestic violence and harassment
  • Child maintenance
  • Child contact arrangements
  • Divorce financial provisions

We offer nationwide services and have office facilities for face-to-face client meetings/conferences when required.

The Pros and Cons of Reviewing a Financial Settlement After Divorce


Can help in Cases of Unfair Settlement

Reviewing a financial settlement after divorce can help unravel whether any of the parties did not get a fair settlement from the divorce. Determining what constitutes a fair divorce settlement depends on a number of income/wealth-related factors which can be complicated at times. This is just one of the several reasons you need an expert law firm such as Austin Kemp.

Serves as Deterrent

A financial settlement review can deter a spouse who is contemplating cheating on the other party by hiding money or withholding information on matrimonial assets or other forms of cheating. The logic here is that the realization of the possibility of future legal action (and its likely consequences) after the original settlement can discourage a potential divorce financial settlement cheat.

Ensures that children’s Welfare is Not Compromised

Children’s welfare is a very important consideration when courts decide on divorce financial settlements in the UK. Reviewing a financial settlement after divorce is another opportunity of ensuring that assets have been shared in a way that guarantees the children’s future maintenance.

Serves as a Reference for Similar Cases

Divorce financial settlement review cases are not everyday occurrences. The law profession relies on legal precedents in the form of previous similar cases and judgments as references for ongoing litigations. A good example is the above-mentioned Barder vs Barder case in 1987 which is widely acknowledged as the genesis and major reference when it comes to reviewing financial settlements after divorce.

Increases People’s Belief in the Judiciary

For a divorce party that feels aggrieved after the first financial settlement, the opportunity of a review will not only be extremely heartwarming and reassuring but is capable of increasing his or her belief in the judicial system, especially if the case turns out favourable.


Requires Specialized Legal Knowledge

As noted earlier, reviewing a financial settlement is not a case that occurs regularly. This means that it may take some searching before finding a solicitor with sufficient knowledge and experience in this rare area of family law. This is yet another reason you should not hesitate to consult Austin Kemp where you’ll meet lawyers and solicitors with the specialized knowledge and experience required to see you through your financial settlement review legal challenge successfully.

Money, Time, and Energy will be Needed to Build a New Case

Being involved in a new legal proceeding can be quite tasking for both the lawyers and the client who have to invest their time, energy, and finances to ensure that the case starts and ends according to expectations.

One Party May Resort to Intimidation and Threats

A party to the divorce (such as the party whose assets are about to be shared) may resort to threats, harassment, coercion, and other forms of intimidation that can subject the other party to duress and discourage him or her from further pursuit of the matter in court.

If you find yourself in this situation, promptly inform the family law experts at Austin Kemp for possible legal action against the threatening party.

Tips for Reviewing a Financial Settlement After Divorce

Ensure the review will not be a waste of time by providing any valuable evidence and information you can

If possible, try to settle with the other party outside the court

Do not be greedy

Seek competent legal advice

Be patient


Ensure the review will not be a waste of time by providing any valuable evidence and information you can


If possible, try to settle with the other party outside the court


Do not be greedy


Seek competent legal advice


Be patient

How to Review a Financial Settlement After Divorce

If you have any reason(s) you think is valid enough to commence a financial settlement review after your divorce, the best thing to do is to contact a law firm to help you file a review application in court. It is the duty of the court to conduct a meticulous and in-depth review and subsequently determine whether you have a case or whether to dismiss your application for lack of merit.

The expert lawyers and solicitors at Austin Kemp will critically assess the new evidence (or help you gather evidence) that has inspired you to seek a review and see if it is strong enough to warrant going to court to invalidate the old financial settlement for a new one.

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What to Look for When Reviewing a Financial Settlement After Divorce

As noted earlier, the Barder vs Barder case in 1987 set out some conditions that can necessitate a review of a financial settlement after divorce. Here are the conditions to look out for based on Barder vs Barder:

No Full and Frank Financial Disclosure

New evidence may emerge indicating that there was no full and frank financial disclosure by one party as of when the original financial settlement was made. In such circumstances, the court is empowered to vary or even set the old settlement order aside. However, the undisclosed assets must be substantial or the information that was not disclosed in the earlier judgment must be vital enough to influence the settlement.

Note that a party can be accused of non-disclosure if he or she purchases a house after separation but does not include it as a matrimonial asset before the divorce is finalised.

Undue Influence

If it is later discovered that one party unduly influenced the other (such as through threats, harassment, etc) to accept the terms of the original financial settlement, then the court has the right to review the original settlement with respect to varying its terms or completely setting the order aside.


If it is determined that one spouse acted fraudulently, the court can also vary the settlement or vacate it.

New Events

A financial settlement may be altered because of a new event that nullifies the basis of granting the original Consent Order. For this to happen, the event must occur very soon after the Order, and be significant enough to warrant the changes to the order. Also, the application to review the financial settlement should be submitted soon after the new event.

You are legally required to ensure that your application does not prejudice any rights to assets now owned by third parties (e.g., a house acquired by a third party that is not part of the divorce proceedings).

If you would like to have changes made to your financial settlement, it is highly recommended that you contact Austin Kemp for expert legal advice specific to your circumstances.

When Should You Review a Financial Settlement After Divorce?

Reviewing a financial settlement after divorce should commence when there is a situation or event (such as those mentioned above) that changes the principle that formed the basis on which an initial Consent Order was granted. As noted above, the new event(s) must occur within a relatively short time after the Consent Order was granted and the application to review the financial settlement should be submitted soon after the new event.

However, you should be aware that the judiciary is an evidence-based system. So even if you have noticed a new event or non-disclosure, you must try and find some evidence to support your arguments in court, especially if the other party is not forthcoming or wants to make legal progress as difficult for you as possible. Our expert divorce solicitors will assist you wherever possible.

Gathering sufficient evidence will help accelerate the court proceedings in your favour and therefore enable you to avoid lengthy financial settlement court appearances that can be time and money-consuming.

At Austin Kemp Solicitors, our experts are skilled in working with high-net-worth clients, helping to calculate divorce financial estimates and review financial settlements so that you get your due entitlement and nothing less, even in the most complex of situations. We also work with expert forensic accountants to ensure that assets are fairly distributed during the divorce.

Speak with our expert divorce solicitors now for advice on reviewing a financial settlement in divorce and more! For further information, call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email

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