My virtual postbag has another enquiry regarding an ex-partner who is now cohabiting:
MP tells me:
We are about to sign the paperwork regarding our financial settlement but my ex husband is lying about the fact he is cohabiting… does that make a difference for me as far as the financial settlement?
I receive a great deal of traffic about the effect of cohabitation in the context of divorce financial settlement. I probably don’t have a lot more to say on the issue here except that this enquiry is interesting in respect of the obligation on each party to a divorce to tell the truth about their financial circumstances. That obligation to be full and frank about any change in relevant circumstances carries on until the point an order is approved and sealed by the family court.
MP feels certain that her ex husband is lying about the fact he is cohabiting and asks whether this makes a difference as regards the financial settlement. I can’t really answer that question as I don’t know the circumstances. But I can say that MP’s ex needs to tell the truth about his circumstances because MP may feel that her ex’s new partner has a reasonable amount of income and can share expenses with the ex. In other words, this new partner represents an income resource to this ex. That may be relevant to MP’s circumstances if she is in need of spousal maintenance from her ex. If MP has lawyers then they can advise her upon the situation.
From the sound of it, MP is about sign ‘the paperwork’ on her financial settlement. This sounds like a consent order. Any consent order needs to be submitted to the family court for approval and be accompanied by a Form D81 – also known as a Statement of Information Form. One of the questions on the form requires a declaration as to whether either party is cohabiting or intends to cohabit. MP’s ex, when he signs this D81, must tell the truth. His lawyers, if he has them, must ensure that he understands his obligations in this regard.
It is open to MP, if she feels strongly about this point, to refuse to sign the consent order or the D81 form until her ex provides a truthful response. She will need to be guided by her lawyers.