A Clean Break/Consent Order is a type of Court Order that can be granted after a divorce severing the financial ties between you and your ex-spouse, meaning you no longer have to provide financial support for him/her. It also means that neither of you can claim money from the other in the future. The Order allows you both to officially end the financial commitments between you.
The majority of people think that once the Decree Absolute has been granted, the divorce and the matrimonial finances have been sorted. It is not as simple as that.
The Decree Absolute means that you will no longer be married and you will both be free to marry other people however you still have a financial obligation to each other. This would entitle either of you to claim further financial provision from the other at any point in the future; even if you have been divorced for years.
Often many people falsely think that as there are no assets to split, there is no need for a Court Order. It’s also an additional expense that some people consider unnecessary.
However, this could prove to a big mistake in the future, as the consequences of not getting a Clean Break/Consent Order can be problematic. Some examples would be, if you come into an inheritance in the future, you might become successful, win the lottery, and what about your pension?
At Brennans we understand that many clients do think the Clean Break/Consent Order appears to be unnecessary and a waste of money but we do advise that you always listen to our advice - it’s the only way to prevent your ex claiming money from you in the future. This could save you a considerable amount of time and money.
Many couples going through a divorce can reach an agreement amicably, and can sign a Clean Break/Consent Order without much issue. Both Orders have to be by CONSENT of both parties, and without it a Clean Break/Consent Order cannot be entered into. Even if Court proceedings have started, those involved can negotiate and reach an agreement, rather than the Court having to make a decision on their behalf. This agreement can then be drafted into a Consent Order.
The Court will expect that there has been full and frank disclosure of each person’s financial circumstances. This information is set out within a ‘Statement of Information’ which is sent to the Court with a Clean Break/Consent Order. When considering the Order, the Court will look at whether the agreement reached is fair, and that there is appropriate financial provision for those involved. The Court therefore has a discretionary approach, and does not have to endorse the Order, even if it is agreed by the couple getting divorced. In most cases if both people have obtained independent legal advice and the proposed settlement is reasonable, it’s likely that a Consent Order will be approved.
Imagine the situation where you buy your family home with your inheritance from your late mother, divorce your husband and move on with your life then some 10 years later he returns and wants “his share” - this is a reality for some ……
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