Financial Orders in Divorce
It can be a little misleading to talk about a ‘Financial Order in divorce’, because in actual fact there are lots of different Financial Orders available. The ones most suited to you will depend entirely on your individual circumstances.
Some of the most common types of Financial Orders in divorce include:
A Consent Order sets out how your assets and debts should be divided. Some divorcing couples can make these decisions between themselves, whereas others need to negotiate through a Divorce Solicitor, mediator or Judge. If no decision can be reached, the matter must go to Court where a Judge decides on your behalf.
Once the divorce financial settlement is finalised, a Judge can make the arrangements legally binding with a Consent Order. The Judge will only grant the Consent Order if the agreement is fair and reasonable to each person. If the Judge is satisfied, then a Consent Order is issued. This contains a ‘clean break’ clause, ending the financial commitments that exist between you and your ex.
Clean Break Orders end your right to make a financial provision claim against your ex, and vice versa. Consent Orders also fulfil this function, but are specifically for divorcing couples who have assets to split. If there are no matrimonial assets but you still want to cut the financial ties between you, a Clean Break Order is necessary.
It’s worth noting that unless you have either a Consent Order or a Clean Break Order, your ex can demand further money from you at any point in the future, unless they remarry. This is because the law in England and Wales says that while a Decree Absolute brings your marriage to an end, your financial obligations to each other continue indefinitely – unless the Court grants a ‘clean break’.
You and your ex might be entitled to a share of each other’s pensions. If so, a Pension Sharing Order outlines how each pension pot should be split. Your pension rights depend on various factors, such as how much you each have in your pension pot, your age, the length of your marriage, your future career prospects and your personal needs.
Property Adjustment Orders set out what should happen to the family home, including whose name it should be held in, who has the right to live there and until what time. There are various possible scenarios, and as such there are different kinds of Property Adjustment Order. For example, a Mesher Order says the sale of the property must be deferred until a certain trigger event.
Maintenance Orders establish how much spousal maintenance must be paid to the financially weaker party, and for how long. Not everyone is entitled to receive spousal maintenance from their ex, and again it depends on factors such as the length of the marriage, the wealth of each person, the needs of each person, and the role each person played in the marriage.
Maintenance Orders that demand ongoing maintenance payments are also known as Periodical Payments Orders. Maintenance Orders can also be obtained on an interim basis while the divorce is being finalised (known as ‘Maintenance Pending Suit’). Orders that deal with Child Maintenance are available too.
A Lump Sum Order requires one person to give the other a lump sum of money. Usually the person making the payment gets to keep something else in return, such as the family home. The money can be paid in instalments.
For more information see Divorce Financial Orders and Financial Settlements.