K and K (Financial Remedy Final Order prior to Decree Nisi) [2016] EWFC 23

In the recent case of K and K the District Judge made a financial order that the former matrimonial home be sold and 60% of the net proceeds be paid to the wife with a clean break in respect of all other financial claims. The District Judge worded the order to say “it is ordered ……. With effect from Decree Absolute”. The District Judge mistakenly believed that the Decree Nisi had been granted as did the wife’s legal representatives. The husband who was acting in person did not appreciate the importance of the Decree Nisi having to be pronounced.

The Decree Nisi was subsequently granted. The wife applied to enforce the terms of the financial order and the husband sought leave to appeal. The wife tried to argue that a Judgment or Order should to take effect from the day when it was made or such later date as the court may specify and in her case she sought a declaration from the court that the order should take effect after the Decree Nisi had been granted. It was held that the matter should be referred to a different Judge for rehearing and that the order the initial Judge had made which was to take effect before the Decree Nisi was null and void.

This case reiterates the fact that the court cannot make a financial order to take effect once Decree Nisi has been pronounced. Any such order will fail.

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