Is a Consent Order Compulsory In Divorce?
One of the most common questions asked by people enquiring about getting divorced is whether consent orders are compulsory or not.
There are various legal words for the same thing so it can be difficult to know exactly what you need to do, especially when it comes to your finances.
In this blog, we’ll address the reasons why a consent order is recommended, even though it’s not compulsory.
Is a consent order compulsory?
The simple answer is no, obtaining a consent order after a divorce is not compulsory.
However, the implications of not having one can be serious.
A financial court order is a legally binding document that sets out the financial settlement between divorcing spouses.
The order outlines how the couple will split their assets and debts, including pensions and property. The order is approved by a judge, making it legally binding and enforceable by law.
Here are four scenarios when obtaining a consent order is recommended:
1) Splitting house equity
If you’re making a property adjustment order or splitting equity in any house sale, you’ll need to obtain a consent order as part of your divorce to ensure the formal agreement is carried out by both parties.
Furthermore, if one spouse is to take over the existing mortgage and stay in the house by offsetting other assets, this should be documented in a consent order to prevent future disagreements if either party changes their mind in the future.
2) Pension sharing
The court will require you to obtain a financial consent order if parties are splitting any pension assets.
Pensions are often one of the most valuable assets within marriage and should always be included in the overall ‘pot’ when it comes to dividing money and assets.
Due to the nature of pension sharing and the complexities involved, putting your agreement into a legally binding court order is advised and usually insisted upon.
3) Lump sum payments
Once approved by the court, it is binding on both parties to carry out the exact deeds, e.g. in this case for one spouse to receive a lump sum.
Without a consent order, the party due to receive a lump sum would have little legal standing in court if the other spouse doesn’t comply.
4) Prevent future claims
Achieving a clean break is one of the most important aspects of divorce.
Regardless of whether you’re splitting various assets or leaving the marriage with what you entered it with, a clean break order will prevent any future claims by either party in the future.
Couples who feel they have nothing to divide, e.g. savings, property, or pensions will often neglect this part of the divorce process.
This is a big mistake and it can have serious consequences in the future, as the case of Dale Vince highlights.
And whilst lottery wins are rare, it highlights the importance of ‘tidying’ up your finances at the point of divorce instead of leaving them wide open for future claims.
What happens if my ex breaches our consent order?
There are various actions you can take if your ex-partner doesn’t comply with the consent order.
It gives you legal protection and a court can enforce the agreement if either party diverges away from it.
Without this approval from the court, there is very little they can do, which is why it’s always recommended to agree and sign a formal court order.
How long does a consent order take?
A consent order typically takes between 2 and 4 weeks to be approved by the courts, depending on their workload at the time.
If you seek help during the 20-week reflection period in the divorce process, you can have all financial documents ready to submit to the court, which will bring your consent order into legal effect on the granting of the final order (previously Decree Absolute).
Can you write your own consent order?
You can write your own consent order but do not expect it to be approved by a Judge.
Like with any legal agreement, it needs to be professionally drafted to ensure it contains the correct legal clauses.
This is especially important if you’re sharing any pensions, selling a property, receiving a lump sum, or agreeing to children/spousal maintenance agreement.
How Divorce-Online can help
It can be quite daunting trying to understand what you need to do to secure your finances and how it all works.
If parties have agreed on how any money or assets are to be divided, there is little need to instruct a solicitor as they often try and complicate matters.
We will professionally draft the legal documents you need to obtain a consent order using the exact details you have agreed to.
Solicitor Drafted Consent Order 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 services are ideal for you.