A number of divorcing parties think that getting a Decree Absolute to dissolve the marriage is all that is necessary. I am often asked, is it important to get a financial consent order on divorce and the short answer is yes, it most certainly is.
There are a number of reasons why it is important to achieve financial separation and for any financial agreement to be detailed in a consent order.
What is a consent order?
A consent order is a document in divorce proceedings detailing the financial agreement that the parties have reached upon the end of the marriage. If it is drawn up correctly, and approved and sealed by the court in divorce proceedings, then it will become legally binding.
A consent order can include a ‘clean break’. A clean break is where neither party has an ongoing financial obligation towards the other. It will often take effect when one, or a number of events, have occurred. E.g. transferring property to the other, or upon payment of a lump.
Why is it needed?
A financial consent order can prevent either party making a financial claim against each other in the future in relation to the marriage, subject to certain conditions. It is easy for some to think that because they do not share any assets with their spouse, and because they are presently on good terms, that an order is not needed. An asset in the sole name of any spouse can be made the subject of a financial claim in the family court on divorce. Reaching an agreement and having it made binding therefore provides a degree of certainty to divorcing couples.
It is always best to agree financial separation, rather than have the court do it for you. This will inevitably save both parties from having to endure expensive and stressful court proceedings. After all, the legal fees spent are coming out of the pot over which there is a disagreement, and the court may make a decision which neither party are comfortable with.
What if you can’t agree?
There are a number of alternatives available to aid reaching an agreement without the need for court proceedings. You can each instruct solicitors to advise and assist with the process. Another popular method is to attempt mediation.
To discuss your options and take detailed advice contact our specialist family law team on 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry by email and a member of the team will get in touch with you.