What is a Consent Order in Divorce?
The Decree Absolute is the final stage of the divorce process but it doesn’t officially end your financial commitments to your ex-spouse. In fact, if 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.
More Information about Consent Orders
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.
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.
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 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 Decree Absolute.
Our Family Law and Divorce Solicitors can advise you further, recommending what Orders would be best in your particular circumstances.
For initial legal advice call our Family Law and Divorce Solicitors
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