Divorce Clean Break Orders
FINAL ORDER ON FINANCES ON DIVORCE
IT IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO OBTAIN A FINAL FINANCIAL ORDER ON DIVORCE.
When you get divorced the decree of divorce ONLY ends your marriage – IT DOES NOT DEAL WITH FINANCIAL CLAIMS WHICH ARISE BECAUSE YOU HAVE DIVORCED.
Your right to make a claim against your spouse for money or property will still continue and your spouse’s right to make a claim against you for money and property will continue UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THOSE CLAIMS ARE DEALT WITH BY WAY OF A FINAL COURT ORDER (EVEN IF THERE IS AN AGREEMENT).
Without a final court order you run the risk of a claim from your former spouse years after the divorce. Whilst this may only be a “potential” problem the fact remains that if you did happen to win money, inherit money or buy a property with a new partner your former spouse could still ask the Court a share of those monies or that property.
If you are divorcing and you and your spouse agree about the finances then you SHOULD get that agreement made into a court order dealing formally and finally with the claims on divorce once and for all. This is known as a consent order and even though it is agreed, once made into a order by a judge, it is a legally binding order.
The order will formally dismiss the right that you and your spouse have to ask for any money property or assets in the future. This is often referred to as a clean break Order.
You will need your agreement to be converted by your solicitor into a formal legal document which will become a court order. The formal form of the agreement is termed a proposed Consent Order and is sent to the Court for the district Judge to look at, approve and turn it in to the formal Court Order.
The proposed consent order is sent to the court along with the standard court fee for consent orders and a standard form setting out basic financial information about the circumstances of you and your spouse in terms of income, capital and pensions. This standard form is called a Statement of Financial Information.
The judge cannot make a judgment about your finances BUT the judge will have to make a proper formal court order. The judge, therefore, considers each case individually. The judge will look to see if the agreed order is reasonable in the circumstances of the financial background and the judge will also wish to be satisfied that both the parties know what the proposed order means.
If your spouse has not had any legal advice upon the proposed Consent Order, the Judge is likely to require that both you and your spouse to attend Court in person. This is so that the judge can be satisfied your spouse understands the effect of the Order that is going to be made and receive confirmation that the proposed order does indeed have the consent of your spouse.
Once the judge approves the order you should receive a formal sealed court order setting out the previously agreed terms of settlement as an order. This will end all potential claims and give you that clean break from your spouse.
The consent order should be binding upon both you and your former spouse for all time. There are very few ways in which it is possible to “undo” the formal final order made by consent. The potential claims for financial remedy through the court will be ended finally with the consent order.