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If you have agreed to a financial agreement then you need to draft a consent order and apply to the court to approve it to make it legally binding.

If the financial agreement you’ve reached is only verbally agreed upon, it is not legally binding and therefore, a court cannot enforce any part of it if there are any issues.

A consent order is a legal document that confirms your financial agreement to the court. It explains how you are going to divide up money and assets such as:

  • Savings
  • Property
  • Pensions
  • Debts
  • Investments

The agreement you submit to the court can also include arrangements for any child and/or spousal maintenance.

Important: You should read our article on the 7 most important things to consider before applying for a consent order. It cuts through all of the information online and dispels harmful myths.

When is the best time to apply for a consent order?

You can apply to the court to approve your consent order once you have started the paperwork for the divorce proceedings or to end your civil partnership.

Once the decree nisi is granted by a judge, you can submit the legal document to the court so that it becomes legally binding when you become divorced.

It’s more straightforward and usually less expensive to arrange your money and assets before applying for the decree absolute, which is the document that ends your marriage.

It is still possible to obtain a consent order after the divorce proceedings have finalised, however, it may affect what you’re entitled to. You may also have to pay tax on assets you receive, so it’s worth seeking legal advice.

On the topic of entitlement, here are two more reasons why you should apply for a consent order before the decree absolute:

  • Certain assets cannot be transferred between former spouses once the divorce has been finalised (e.g. pensions), or transfers can become more difficult or costly.
  • If one party remarries, they will lose their rights to make financial claims from their ex-spouse.

If you’re thinking of drafting your own consent order, read this article first to understand why you need a solicitor and how we can help you save £1000.

Which Type of Financial Order Do I Need?

Answer a couple of simple questions below to find out if you need a financial consent order or clean break. It’s free to use, no personal details are required.

Which Financial Order Tool (Luke)

How Can I Apply for a Consent Order?

The application for a financial order is a fairly straightforward process once the financial agreement has been reached.

Here are the exact steps you need to follow in order to obtain a consent order:

  1. Have a consent order professionally drafted – To document your financial agreement.
  2. Sign the drafted consent order – You’ll need 2 photocopies of the signed original.
  3. Complete the statement of information form (This will be done before drafting).
  4. Send the signed forms and copies to the court dealing with your divorce along with the £50 court fee.

In most cases, you won’t need to attend a court hearing. If the judge believes the agreement to be fair, they will approve it to make the agreement legally binding.

If you have agreed on how your money and assets are to be separated and you don’t want to spend £1500+ on a solicitor, then our online consent order service is ideal for you.

Here’s what you’ll receive when you sign up for our service:

  • A solicitor drafted consent order for £299 fixed-fee (Covers both parties).
  • We manage the application through the courts for you.
  • We deal with any queries from the Judge or opposing solicitors for you.
  • You provide us with all the information we need online (No need to visit our offices).
  • Track your case online from start-to-finish from a phone or laptop.

Professionally Drafted Financial Consent Order – £299

This service provides you with a solicitor-drafted financial agreement that we manage through court for you, to ensure that your order is granted by the courts and therefore becomes legally binding without costing you thousands.

3 Important Things To Know About Consent Orders

1) There needs to be financial disclosure between both parties. Financial disclosure is the practice of documenting your assets and income so that a fair agreement can be reached.

2) Both parties need to agree to sign the agreement, hence the name ‘consent order’. It is an order made with the consent of both parties to the divorce or civil partnership.

3) You need to have a qualified professional help you draft the consent order to ensure no legal clauses are missed and that the Judge reviewing your order is likely to grant it based on fairness.

How long does a consent order take?

In normal circumstances, a standard consent order takes 6-10 weeks to be approved by the court. Timescales for financial applications are dependent on which court you use to file the order with. Courts in large areas such as London are likely to have a longer timescale.

As reported in the Law Gazette, 2020 was a tough year for the family courts and regional divorce centres with social distancing rules causing delays.

If you’re filing an application now, you should expect to have your financial order granted within 16-20 weeks.

It’s quicker to file an application online compared to the traditional method of post. View our consent order services and see how we can help you from just £199.

How much does it cost?

You can obtain a consent order for £299 with our online service that is handled by family law solicitors. The typical cost when instructing local law firms is between £1,000 – £2,000 depending on the complexity of your agreement.

Most of our clients receive 2 or 3 quotes from high-street solicitors and come back to us after realising that we’re over £1000 cheaper than most other firms.

How long is a consent order valid for after it’s granted?

A consent order is binding on both parties forever. Parts of the order may expire as events take place, such as a house being sold or a pension coming into payment.

Once your financial agreement has been granted by a judge it can only be overturned if there has been suspected fraud, hiding of assets or what is known as a “Barder” event.

The Barder principle comes from the 1987 case of Barder v Barder and allows a court to exercise its discretion to grant leave to appeal out of time if certain unusual conditions are satisfied.

What happens after the consent order is sealed by a judge?

Once the order is sealed by the court, it will be sent by post to each of the parties.

They ( or their lawyers) are then responsible for carrying out the terms of the order. This could involve selling property and paying a lump-sum of money. Or it could involve more complex divisions, such as splitting money from pensions.

The court will not be involved in carrying out the order unless there is a breach.

At that point, an application to enforce the order would have to be made to the court.

What do we need to send to the court to get a financial order?

The main document in financial proceedings is known as Form E. Both parties must complete the form in order to apply for a financial order and it must be truthful and accurate.

Completion and swearing of Statement of Property and Income (Form E) containing:

  • Particulars of the parties/children
  • Means (including pension)
  • Capital and Income needs
  • Standard of living, Contribution, Conduct
  • Other relevant circumstances

We have written in-depth about what information you need to gather to complete Form E, which is an essential document in financial proceedings.

Both parties have an obligation to make full and frank disclosure of all material facts, documents and other information relevant to the issue (known as financial disclosure). 

Making an application for a financial order to the court should not be regarded as a hostile step or a last resort, rather as a way of starting the court timetable, controlling disclosure and endeavouring to avoid the costly final hearing.

Professionally Drafted Financial Consent Order – £299

This service provides you with a solicitor-drafted financial agreement that we manage through court for you, to ensure that your order is granted by the courts and therefore becomes legally binding without costing you thousands.

This post was written by Mark Keenan. Editor of the Divorce Online Blog and Managing Director of Online Legal Service Ltd. Mark has been writing about divorce and related subjects for over 20+ years and is an expert in legal marketing.

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