What is a Consent Order in Divorce?

Posted on: 7 mins read
Last updated:
Lorraine Harvey

Partner, Family Law

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The Final order is the final stage of the divorce process but it doesn’t officially end your financial commitments to your ex-spouse. In fact, if you do not finalise your finances in a Court approved Order, then your ex is potentially entitled to make a financial claim against you at any point in the future. There is no cut-off date for this.

If you and your ex have any assets, then it’s essential that you obtain a Consent Order. A Consent Order sets out the financial arrangements that you and your ex have agreed. It will detail how your property, pensions, debts and assets are to be split in your divorce. It might also include provisions about spousal maintenance and/or child maintenance.

If, between yourselves, you and your ex can decide how your finances are to be divided, then you simply need to ask a Divorce Solicitor to draft your agreement into a Consent Order.

For initial advice get in touch with our Divorce Solicitors.

We’re here to answer every question you may have about Consent Orders and exactly how they work. We have decades of expertise in this area of the law, meaning we can guide you through getting a Consent Order as part of your divorce.

Our team is super friendly and knowledgeable in this area of the law. In addition, we understand the sensitivity and empathy divorce cases should be treated with. This is why every discussion you have with us will be a confidential safe space for you to let us know your legal worries and concerns, and we will provide advice accordingly.

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More Information about Consent Orders

Clean Break Clause

It’s important that your Consent Order, in addition to the other terms you have agreed, contains a "clean break” clause.

This clause sets out that the matrimonial financial commitments between you and your ex will end once the terms your Consent Order are complied with.

If maintenance is ordered, a clean break will not be achieved until the maintenance term has come to an end.

Therefore, the clean break clause ensures that any financial ties between yourself and your ex-partner are dissolved so that you are able to fully separate. You don’t want to have financial commitments and ties which both you and your ex are responsible for if you’re divorcing – that’s why it’s necessary to resolve these ties before separating fully.

That’s why, if there are lots of financial commitments, assets and responsibilities which you and your partner share, a clean break clause is essential. It makes sure that, once the Consent Order is complied with and that part of the divorce has been completed and adhered to, any and all financial ties you still have with your partner are dissolved.

This means you will be once again seen by the law and by the government as a single person, in your finances as well as your legal status. Everything you own separately will still be there, and the things you owned together will now be fairly split.

If you need help or advice about a clean break clause, we’re here to help and answer any questions you may have.

If You Can’t Agree

Of course, we understand that sometimes, things are just too fraught between ex partners, especially when it comes to dealing with issues of money and finances. This is natural – sometimes, the split was too messy, and it can be difficult discussing anything with your ex, let alone finances and who gets what.

As you’d expect, the Court is often overwhelmed with demand, especially since Covid-19 and the financial and staffing issues that caused. For this reason, it is strongly suggested that you resolve your financial issues and make your decisions with your ex outside of court, so as not to add to the strain the Court system is currently experiencing.

However, there are lots of other options available, outside of just having a one-on-one discussion with your ex partner. You can always get other professional parties involved, to help you make a fair and logical decision without causing too many arguments and without putting any stress and strain on not only yourself, but also your ex and the Court system.

If you and your ex cannot come to an agreement regarding your finances, then you should consider mediation or instruct Divorce Solicitors to negotiate on your behalf. It is possible for a Judge to decide how your finances should be divided. However, every effort should be made to reach an agreement between you and your ex so that costly Court proceedings can be avoided.

The D81 Form

Once a Consent Order is agreed by you both, it can then be submitted to the Court along with some other relevant forms – such as the D81 form. This is a short form disclosure and an opportunity to provide more information as to why you’ve reached your deal. You want it approved so you can explain anything you anticipate could be queried. This helps to provide the Judge with a “before” picture of what the assets are, so they can work out what the “after” picture will look like if they approve the Order.

A Judge will review the arrangements to ensure they are fair and reasonable. If a Judge decides that the arrangement is not reasonable, then the Consent Order will be rejected; at which point you can try to explain to the Judge why the Order should be made or you have an opportunity to amend it.

If you get in touch with us at the beginning of the Consent Order process, we can guide you through all the forms and other paperwork needed to get the wheels turning. We know exactly how the process works and exactly what needs to be handed in and when. We can also advise you on how to fill in the forms and paperwork and what information and/or evidence you may need when doing so.

Our friendly and helpful team will be here to answer any questions you may have about the forms and paperwork you need for a Consent Order.

Next Steps

If your Consent Order is approved by the Court, then the agreement becomes legally binding and you cannot change it. In other words, your divorce financial agreement is now final and there can be penalties for ignoring it.

The Consent Order should be viewed as an essential ingredient of the divorce, as well as the Final order.

Consent Orders are important to make sure that you and your ex-partner’s financial assets are split properly and fairly, based on ownership and who is owed what. These decisions must be made without being led by emotion and sentiment, although this can be really difficult in divorce cases, which are very difficult and emotionally-charged situations.

This is why, if you’re unable to come to a decision together, there are other options available to you. It’s widely understood that divorce proceedings can be even more difficult for ex partners who aren’t amicable just yet. In these cases, things like mediation and negotiation can really help everyone come to the right and logical situation based on who is legally owed what.

In addition, as described above, there are consequences of not getting a Consent Order. The Consent Order, especially when it has a clear break clause in it, can help you completely separate from your ex partner, so that you are free to go and live your life without having to be financially tied to them in any way – and a Consent Order ensures that this can happen as fairly as possible.

Get in Touch

Our Family Law and Divorce Solicitors can advise you further, recommending what Orders would be best in your particular circumstances.

We aim to provide a safe space of open and honest discussion and legal advice, so that our clients feel able to air their legal worries and concerns, and we will always be there with an answer, tailored to their particular case.

If you get in touch with us earlier on in divorce proceedings, we can guide you through the whole process, helping make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible, and ensuring that you get the result you’re looking for, whilst balancing what is fair and logical.

In addition, we can advise on what best suits your case, in terms of which route to go down to settle your joint finances, based on your situation and what your relationship is currently like with your ex. We will always promote settling things outside of Court, but we are able to provide a whole wealth of options when it comes to how to settle your joint finances and assets, so we can dissolve any financial ties to your ex once and for all.


Money Helper. (n.d.). Clean break or spousal maintenance after divorce or dissolution. Retrieved from https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/family-and-care/divorce-and-separation/clean-break-or-spousal-maintenance-after-divorce-or-dissolution

UK Government. (n.d.). Form D81: Statement of information for a consent order in relation to a financial remedy. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-d81-statement-of-information-for-a-consent-order-in-relation-to-a-financial-remedy

UK Government. (n.d.). Get a copy of a final order or final order. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/copy-decree-absolute-final-order

Lorraine Harvey

Partner, Family Law

Areas of Expertise:
Family Law

Lorraine is a Partner at Simpson Millar, specialising in Family Law for over 20 years.

She handles middle to high net value cases, including pension claims and complex trust, and also advises on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

Lorraine has unrivalled knowledge of public sector pensions, in particular police pensions, having advised police officers on pension claims for two decades.

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