Clean Break Orders
Most people want a financial clean break after going through Divorce or Dissolution. You can create this with a consent order, meaning that your ex no longer has any claim on your finances.
If you are going through a divorce or dissolution you may not be aware that this does not automatically stop either party from making a claim against the financial assets in the future. These assets can be property, capital, pensions, or income. Either party can make a claim right up until they remarry, enter into another civil partnership, or die. We can help you with an application to the court for a consent order.
A consent order is a court order made with the agreement of the parties. Within your consent order you can insert a clause to dismiss future claims, this is commonly referred to as a “clean break”. This is the only way to ensure that your agreement is upheld and gives you the peace of mind that you can draw a clean line under your divorce or dissolution. A consent order is usually a paper exercise and parties do not need to attend court. If the court does want to hear from the parties in person, then we can help you. We offer you various fixed fee packages for your consent order, our fees depend on the complexity of your agreement and the extent to which you want us to get involved.
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Will the court always approve a Consent Order?
The court has a duty to consider whether a clean break between the parties is appropriate, when making financial orders.
Nevertheless, where there are children (especially young children) the court often expects some explanation for a proposed clean break before considering it to be fair.
Is it better to get a Consent Order or go to court?
Agreement is generally a more satisfactory way of resolving a dispute than a court hearing because it avoids ill-feeling and, importantly, it avoids additional costs being incurred.
Court proceedings can be expensive and, given the possibility that the costs, or at least a proportion of them, may be payable by you, an agreed clean break order may very well save you money.
However, it is important to stress that a clean break order must represent a fair division of the matrimonial property. Agreement should not be made to a clean break order which is considered unfair.
What does the court consider when approving a Consent Order?
The court will not necessarily approve a clean break order because the parties agree the terms. However, if the order is drafted by competent legal representatives, the court is very likely to approve it and will be “heavily influenced by what the parties themselves have agreed.”
The court’s approach is as follows:
- The court’s jurisdiction to make orders for financial relief derives from the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
- The court’s function is the same as when making a contested order
- Section 25 of the MCA 1973 prescribes a list of matters to which the court must consider
- The order must be just and fair.
A Consent Order is not just a rubber stamp. However, a judge is under no obligation to make inquiries or require evidence. They are entitled to assume that parties of full age and capacity know what is in their own best interests, particularly when they have legal representation. The court will approve a Consent Order unless it has reason to think there are circumstances that should be reviewed.
What does a Consent Order include?
The following (inexhaustive) list represents the financial orders that feature in most consent orders:
- Financial provision, including periodical payments, secured periodical payments and lump sums
- Property adjustment, including transfer of property, settlement of property and variation of settlement orders
- Orders for sale of property
- Pension sharing.
The court also has the power to make interim financial orders such as maintenance.
Are there any court charges?
The Court charge a fee of £50.00 for a Consent Order application