In this post we’ll explore the ins and outs regarding financial orders in divorce and explain the process of obtaining a consent order.
A consent order is the legal document, prepared with the consent of both parties to a divorce that sets out what the parties have agreed in relation to their matrimonial finances.
They usually provide for a clean break, but can also include provisions for further payments after the divorce, such as spousal and child maintenance.
You must have your financial order drafted by a qualified solicitor, otherwise the order will not be granted by the judge and therefore not made legally binding.
There is very little chance of an order you draw up yourself being accepted by a judge as it has to be drafted in a certain way and only qualified lawyers have that skill.
Providing that both parties have agreed on the division of assets and are happy to sign the financial agreement, obtaining a legally binding financial order can be achieved for a low-cost!
Divorce-Online have helped 60,000+ couples obtain a financial order, helping them save an average of £500+ compared to using local solicitors.
DIY Consent Order £150
Our solicitors will complete your draft consent order and explain how to file the order with the courts.
Managed Consent Order £199
Our solicitors will manage your entire financial agreement process, from the drafting of the order to processing it through court for you.
Why would you get a consent order and can you draw up your own order?
It is always sensible to draw a line in the sand when it comes to splitting your financial matters in a divorce.
A consent order will be necessary to sell or transfer property as well as if you want to share your pensions following a divorce.
You can also get maintenance orders for a spouse or children written into the order, so it can be enforced if the maintenance is not paid.
One of the main reasons why couples obtain a financial order is because it will stop either spouse attempting to claim for more money or assets at a later date.
Knowing that all financial ties are severed moving forward gives both parties piece of mind.
How to get a consent order?
There are a few different ways in which you can obtain a consent order, but they all require a solicitor for drafting.
Here’s how to obtain a financial consent order;
- Agree on a fair financial settlement
- Find a divorce solicitor to draft your agreement
- Have them draft your order
- Both parties need to sign the draft court order
- File the order with the court with the required £50 court fee.
This is a simplified example of the process involved with obtaining a financial consent order when there is agreement.
There are specific legal rules as to how a consent order should be drafted and what can and cannot be included in it, which is why you cannot do it yourself.
The consent order can be applied for once the decree nisi has been granted in the divorce proceedings and not before.
Also, you cannot have a consent order without a divorce having been issued first, so if you have already started divorce proceedings you’ll need to have just the financial order drafted for you.
What can be included in a consent order?
Anything in relation to your financial situation can be included in a consent order.
The court has powers to make orders for;
- Property sale and transfer
- The payment of lump sums of money
- Pension sharing
- Debt provision.
Anything the court cannot specifically order can be dealt with by way of what is called an undertaking, which is a promise to the court to do something.
If this undertaking is broken the court can enforce it using contempt of court rules.
What are the advantages of a consent order?
The main advantage is that you don’t need to go to court and argue your case before a judge.
- The agreement is amicable – If you can agree on the division of assets with needing solicitors, it can save you time, money and stress.
- No need for a court hearing – In most cases there’s no need to attend a court hearing, especially if things are amicable and a fair split has been achieved.
- The process is quick – You should obtain your consent order within 3-4 weeks. If financial matters are drawn out, we’ve seen it take years.
The process involved with obtaining a financial court order was designed to be quick and amicable.
As long as both parties agree and the order is generally fair, the judge will grant the consent order without the need for any further hearings or correspondence.
If the judge thinks the order is unbalanced, they will generally ask the parties to write in and explain how they came to the order, and on rare occasions, they may ask the parties to attend a short hearing to make sure that both parties have entered into the consent order with full understanding.
Do I actually need a consent order?
If you are selling a property or transferring property, making a pension sharing order or paying over money, then you are advised to obtain a consent order, to make sure the other party carries out what they have agreed.
Also, you will want to make sure that neither of you can go back to court at a later date and try and get a better settlement or more money.
We’ve seen it all too often when financial matters are put off and it unfortunately comes back to bite one party later down the line.
Obtaining a court order following your divorce will ensure that the contents of the agreement are carried out.
So for example, to be sure maintenance payments are made or the house is sold and both parties receive the right share, you are advised to obtain a financial order as this will guarantee these outcomes.
What could happen if I don’t get a consent order?
Without a consent order, either party can apply to the court for financial relief at a later date.
So, even if you have reached an agreement and divided your assets, your spouse can at any time apply to the court for more than you agreed.
Whether the court would give them any more money is another matter, but the fact they can apply would cause unnecessary stress and legal costs with having to defend your settlement.
Do I have to go to court to file a consent order?
No, you don’t need to physically attend a court to file a consent order; it can be done via post in most cases.
Once the paperwork and court fee has been registered, it will be sent to a judge to approve the order.
If you are filing the order yourself, which you can certainly do, then make sure that you are prepared to answer and queries from the judge regarding how the agreement was made etc.
How can Divorce-Online help you secure your finances?
As mentioned earlier, we’ve got two separate services that will obtain you a legally binding financial order for a low-cost compared to local solicitors.
DIY Consent Order Service – £150 Fixed Fee
This service involves our solicitors drafting you a financial order from your agreed settlement and guiding you through the process until the judge grants the order.
Managed Consent Order Service – £199 Fixed Fee
Our solicitors will manage your financial order application from start-to-finish. They will draft your agreed settlement and file it with the courts on your behalf.
We’re experienced experts in drafting financial agreements, having obtained over 60,000 consent orders since 1999. Both of these services will save you at least £500 compared to using local solicitors.
Need more information or advice on filing a consent order? Call us for free advice on 01793 384 029 or email us any questions you have.