Consent Orders in Divorce Proceedings

Legally dealing with your finances as part of a divorce is an important step, but unfortunately, it’s one that many couples skip, which can later come back to bite them.

If you are overwhelmed by legal jargon or believe that it’s not worth the extra money as you are in agreement then we understand, but you need to be aware of the potential consequences of not tieing up your financial relationship.

Obtaining a consent order following your divorce is the only way to prevent both parties from making claims against future wealth.

If you’re researching financial orders because you are unsure what they are, what you can include in them, and how to obtain one, then continue reading as we break each of those questions down for you.

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    What Is a Consent Order & Should I Get One?

    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.

    Once approved by a judge, the court order dismisses the possibility of any future financial claims from either party, giving you peace of mind.

    In normal circumstances, a standard consent order takes 6-10 weeks to be approved by the court, however, timescales for financial applications are dependent on the court you file the order with.

    The typical cost of obtaining a financial order when instructing local law firms is between £1500 – £2000 depending on the complexity of your agreement and where you live.

    If you would prefer a more affordable option then view our Managed Consent Order Service for £399. Our solicitors handle all aspects of your case for a one-off fixed-fee.

    You can apply to the court to approve your consent order once the judge has granted you a decree nisi in divorce proceedings. The agreement becomes legally binding when a judge grants you the decree absolute.

    It is still possible to obtain a consent order after the decree absolute is granted, however, it may affect your entitlement to certain assets, such as pensions. You may also have to pay tax on assets you receive.

    We have written about some of the most important topics surrounding finances and divorce, which you may find useful when making a decision about how you move forward:

    Professionally Drafted Consent Order Service – £399

    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.

    Key Facts To Know About Financial Consent Orders

    Dealing with your finances as part of a divorce can be complex, especially as there are numerous terms for similar things.

    It’s important to stress that obtaining a consent order isn’t suitable for all couples. The type of court order you require is dependent entirely on your situation.

    The most common alternative to a consent order is a clean break order. This type of court order is for couples that don’t have joint assets, such as pensions, property, savings.

    If you had a short marriage and didn’t jointly own any assets, you should be able to achieve a clean break from your ex-spouse, which means you can go your separate ways after divorce.

    Consent orders are required when a couple cannot go their separate ways because of on-going commitments, e.g. a division of property, pensions, maintenance, or even debts.

    If you fail to obtain a financial order alongside your divorce then your ex-partner may be entitled to claim against you in the future (even years after the divorce).

    Getting a divorce will end your marriage and enable you to re-marry, however, it does not end your financial commitments as husband and wife.

    Financial disclosure is the term used to describe both parties being open and honest about their financial situation, including savings and pension amounts.

    It’s hard to reach a fair financial agreement if one party isn’t honest about their assets, which is why it’s one of the requirements you must meet in order for a judge to approve it.

    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.

    How To Get a Consent Order Online

    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 financial order for £399 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 – £399

    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 Divorce-Online and Managing Director of Online Legal Services 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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