Consent Orders - What Is It & Do I Need One?

An agreement reached between parties in a divorce is not legally binding until it receives court approval. A financial consent order is a legal document that outlines a couple’s financial agreement including maintenance payments, property, pensions, savings, and more.

An order made for a consent order needs to be sealed by a Judge to create a legally binding document that can give both parties a clean break and prevent any future claims.

In this guide to consent orders, you’ll learn about how to complete form d81 (statement of information), and whether you need a solicitor to help you or not.

the signing of a consent order agreement uk

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    When you get married or enter a civil partnership, financial responsibilities between you and your partner come into play.

    In divorce proceedings, the issuance of the Final Order (previously known as a decree absolute), marks the official end of the marriage contract.

    However, it’s crucial to note that this termination doesn’t automatically conclude your financial obligations.

    Even after the divorce is finalised, an ex-spouse or partner retains the ability to make financial claims, whether related to income, capital, or pension assets. These claims can persist until the formal conclusion of financial responsibilities. 

    Without proper closure, these claims may remain open indefinitely, even if you and your former spouse or partner had a verbal agreement regarding financial arrangements during your separation.

    It underscores the importance of formally settling financial matters to prevent lingering claims beyond the divorce, which is possible with a divorce consent order.

    Everything You Need To Know…

    1.What is a consent order?

    A financial consent order is a legally binding order made by the family court in divorce proceedings. It is the legal way of sorting out financial matters on a divorce and is crucial for ensuring that both parties get a fair share of their finances and assets.

    To formally wrap up financial responsibilities, you’ll need a specific order outlining how income, property, savings, and pensions will be divided after the relationship ends.

    This order also dismisses any financial claims against each other, either immediately or at a specified future date if needed. Once the court approves the consent order and seals it, the agreement becomes binding and enforceable.

    2.Can we amend the court order if we are not happy?

    Yes, you can.

    If both parties are on board with making changes, you can modify a consent order.

    To amend a consent order, you will need to have the financial agreement re-drafted and then resubmit it for court approval. Once the new order is accepted, the old one gets replaced.

    But here’s the catch…

    If both parties don’t agree, you can’t make any changes once the document is signed because it becomes legally binding. In other words, agreement from both sides is the key to amending a consent order.

    3.Can you get divorced without a consent order?

    Yes. While it is possible to finalise a divorce without obtaining a consent order, it is generally not recommended.

    Although one can initiate a consent order application after receiving a conditional order (or decree nisi), it remains non-binding until the court approves it.

    In most cases, the consent order becomes fully effective only after securing a Final Order (or decree absolute).

    It’s advisable to seek a consent order to formalise financial arrangements and ensure a fair division of assets, even though it’s not a mandatory part of the divorce process.

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    4.Can I get a consent order online for £53?

    Yes, you can get a consent order online in the UK.

    However, not by using a free consent order template from Google.

    The D81 consent order needs to be drafted by professionals who understand family law and know how to draft legal clauses into contracts, e.g. family law solicitors.

    Financial consent order templates cannot help you with this. Just as they can’t help you complete the statement of information.

    For example, how is a free template supposed to draft specific legal clauses around property ownership, pension division, and maintenance payments?

    They simply can’t.

    This doesn’t mean that you need to spend thousands on lawyers; read our article below, outlining how to file a consent order online yourself.

    Can You File Your Own Consent Order in a Divorce?

    5.My ex is refusing to sign a divorce consent order, what can I do?

    Should your former spouse resist signing any financial settlement, the option of seeking court intervention may arise.

    However, it’s crucial to view this as a last resort due to the additional expenses and the typically more time-consuming nature compared to alternative approaches.

    If your spouse remains steadfast in refusing to sign the consent order or an agreement on the financial settlement terms proves elusive, you can petition the court for approval of your clean break consent order. This route is known as an ancillary relief order.

    It is generally advisable to explore all available options, such as mediation, before resorting to court involvement.

    6.How often do Judges reject consent orders?

    While rare, there is a possibility that a consent order may be rejected by the court.

    There is no automatic approval just because you and your former spouse have agreed to the terms of a financial agreement.

    Ultimately, a Judge has the discretion to reject an order if the terms of the agreement are deemed unfair or if the court believes that further information or clarification is required.

    To minimise the risk of rejection, it is crucial to seek legal advice and ensure that the consent order is correctly drafted, reflecting a fair and reasonable agreement between both parties.

    7.What happens if my former spouse breaches the order?

    You should always try to resolve the issue with your ex-partner directly through communication.

    If your ex-spouse continues to refuse to comply with the consent order, you may need to take legal action. This can involve going back to court and asking the judge to enforce the order.

    This can be a lengthy and expensive process, so it’s important to consider all your options before taking this step.

    If your ex-spouse still doesn’t comply with the consent order even after legal action has been taken, they may face consequences such as fines or even imprisonment.

    Overall, it’s important to remember that a consent order is a legally binding agreement and both parties are required to comply with it.

    If your ex-spouse doesn’t comply, there are steps you can take to resolve the issue, but it’s important to seek legal advice and consider all your options before taking action.

    Solicitor Drafted Consent Order For £399

    If you have a formal agreement in place with your ex-partner and wish to formalise it into a legally binding court order without spending thousands, our online service is ideal for you.

    How to apply for a consent order in a divorce

    1. Agree between you on how money and assets are to be split: Whilst it’s recommended to seek legal advice from family law solicitors when discussing your financial settlement, it’s not required by law.
    2. Prepare a draft consent order based on your formal agreement: Parties are required to complete a statement of information for a consent order in relation to a financial remedy application. The statement of information (Form D81) helps the court decide whether the financial and property arrangements you’ve made are fair.
    3. Apply to the court for approval of your financial consent order: Send the court the signed application along with the necessary supporting documents mentioned above and the £53 court fee.
    4. If you apply to the court alongside your divorce (after the Conditional Order), it becomes legally binding once the Final Order is granted; providing a Judge deems it fair and reasonable.

      In most cases, couples will not need to attend a court hearing in person.

      If the family court has any questions about your financial settlement they may ask you to provide more details on how you came to the agreement.

      example consent order uk

      How much does a consent order cost?

      The cost and timeframe of obtaining a consent order may vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the agreement and the efficiency of the court system.

      The court fee to submit a financial application and resolve your finances is currently £53.

      Legal fees for a solicitor to draft the order for you will vary depending on the complexity of your agreement and other factors.

      Costs for a consent order range from £399 online to £3,500+ for a family lawyer to draft a complex agreement.

      Compare our service with other family law providers

      Divorce-Online Amicable Male solicitor acting for a clientLocal Solicitors
      Price £399 – view service £900 £1500+
      Fixed-Fee? Yes Yes N/A – Some charge hourly fees only
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      Solicitor Drafted? Yes N/A – no mention of this Yes

      ** What is an online service?

      An online service is where you can submit the financial information for your consent order online without needing to complete any paperwork, phone calls, or emails. It speeds up the process of having a solicitor review your information and draft the necessary financial agreement.

      Can I get a consent order after divorce to prevent my ex-partner from making financial claims?

      A consent order after divorce is an essential legal document that ensures the protection of one’s assets and financial stability post-divorce. It is important for individuals to understand the significance of obtaining a financial consent order to safeguard their rights and avoid future complications.

      A consent order is a legally binding agreement that outlines the division of assets, property, and financial responsibilities between the divorcing parties. This document is approved by the court, making it enforceable and providing peace of mind to both parties involved.

      By obtaining a consent order, individuals can establish a clear and fair distribution of assets, ensuring that each party receives their entitled share. This order can cover various aspects, including property, investments, savings, pensions, and debts. It also addresses any ongoing financial obligations, such as spousal maintenance or child support.

      What sets a consent order apart from a mere verbal or informal financial agreement is its legal enforceability. If any party fails to comply with the terms specified in the consent order, the aggrieved party can seek legal recourse. This provides a sense of security, as it ensures that the agreed-upon financial arrangements are protected by law.

      Moreover, a consent order provides closure and finality to the divorce process. It prevents either party from making future claims on assets, even if they acquire new ones.

      Scenarios When Obtaining a Consent Order is Recommended

      Obtaining a financial order is recommended in various scenarios to protect your financial interests and secure a clean break.

      Some situations where a consent order is particularly important to include:

      1. When there are significant assets or complex financial arrangements involved, such as multiple properties, businesses, or investments.
      2. When there is a significant imbalance in financial contributions during the marriage or civil partnership.
      3. When there are children involved and specific financial arrangements need to be outlined, such as child maintenance or educational expenses.
      4. When one party is keeping the family home and buying out the other party’s share. A consent order ensures that any potential claims or financial complications are resolved at the time of the transfer.
      5. When there is a significant disparity in future earning potential between the parties, ensuring that one party does not make future claims on the other’s income.
      6. When there is a possibility of either party inheriting significant assets in the future.

      How long does it take to get a financial consent order?

      Since the court system was digitised, applications for a consent order can be approved within 2 to 4 weeks.

      Before no fault divorce was introduced in April 2022, this was taking between four and 10 weeks to be approved by the court.

      Whilst the new online system is quicker, it does still depend on the complexity of your financial agreement and the workload of the court.

      What are the benefits of getting a consent order?

      In a divorce, getting a consent order can bring countless benefits. It’s more than just a legal agreement; it’s a carefully thought-out court order that can protect your financial interests.

      When you get a consent order, the law recognises the financial agreement between you and your ex-spouse.

      This is particularly important if there are children involved, as the court’s primary focus is the welfare of the child or children.

      Other benefits include:

      • Prevents Future Claims – Once a consent order is approved by a Judge, the right to claim in the future ends for both parties. This is one of the key benefits as it enables both parties to move on with their life without the worry of future claims hanging over their heads.
      • Ensures Compliance – Formal agreements are great but they do not provide you with protection should one party not comply with the agreement. A consent order gives the court the power to enforce parts of the agreement, even as far as child/spousal maintenance breaches.
      • Financial Clarity – Have peace of mind knowing that the wealth you accumulate in the future is not subject to claims from your ex-husband or wife. The agreement you reach should be fair so that both parties can maintain a certain level of lifestyle after the divorce.

      How to Get a Consent Order Online From £399

      Have you reached an agreement with your ex-husband or wife on the division of money and assets?

      If so, our online consent order service for £399 is the most straightforward and affordable way to obtain a professionally drafted consent order to your exact and specific needs.

      Divorce is stressful enough without having a financial burden on top. Our service is a fraction of the cost of local solicitors and typically helps clients save well over £1,000.

      Solicitor Drafted Financial Agreement – £399

      If you have a formal agreement in place with your ex-partner and wish to formalise it into a legally binding court order without spending thousands, our online service is ideal for you.

      Mark Keenan - CEO of Divorce-OnlineThis post was written by Mark Keenan. 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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