We have recently had a number of clients come back to us after they had an initial appointment, they got some initial advice regarding what the property split should be, and they decided to sort it out themselves.
These people have then gone away and given their spouse what they considered to be a fair split. The spouse has now commenced proceedings against them for more money, or is refusing to release an asset until they receive more money.
As often happens, if they had paid us to act for them and ensure that the settlement was binding, they would have paid a lot less money than they are now having to pay us to fight about this issue.
Furthermore, the Family Court generally makes a decision about the split of assets based on current values of the assets, even if a substantial amount of time has passed since the relationship ended or the assets were split. So if you have taken your assets and increased them, and the ex-spouse has taken their assets and spent them then they may well also get a substantial chunk of your new improved assets if the original settlement was not handled so as to make it binding and final.
Lastly, if your ex-spouse makes a claim against your Estate when you die on the basis that they either weren’t paid anything at all, or that they took less than they should have taken because you threatened them or they were not well at the time, then this would be a very difficult claim for your Executor to defend without the benefit of binding Court orders, or a Financial Agreement having been originally put in place.