Consent Order Information in England and Wales
What is a consent order and how do I get one?
A consent order, is an order made by a judge in divorce proceedings, where both parties have agreed their financial settlement and consent to an order being made without the need for a court hearing.
The parties file a draft consent order containing the terms of their financial settlement, together with a brief financial statement that sets out their current financial position.
The papers then go before a Judge who will look at the order to see if it acceptable legally. If the judge accepts the order, it is then sealed and sent to the parties to implement.
The order becomes legally binding when the Decree Absolute has been granted in the divorce proceedings.
Why would you get a consent 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.
You will also need a consent order if you want to share your pension. 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.
Most of all, the order will stop either spouse attempting to claim for more money or assets at a later date, which gives both parties protection once the divorce is finalised.
How to get a consent order?
A consent order is a legal document that has to be drafted by an experienced legal professional with years of training to become legally binding.
There are specific legal rules as to how a consent order should be drafted and what can and cannot be included in one, which we will be able to advise you on before you choose to obtain one.
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.
Find out exactly how to obtain a consent order
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 maintenance, property sale and transfer, the payment of lump sums of money, pension sharing and 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 in broken, the court can enforce it, using contempt of court rules.
If you are unsure of what can be included in your consent order, call us on 01793 384 029 and speak to our friendly divorce experts for free help and advice.
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 consent order process is designed to be quick and amicable, without attending court.
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 they both have entered into the consent order, with full understanding and have not been placed under any duress.
Do I need a consent order?
If you are selling 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.
You can find out more information here on why you need to obtain a consent order.
What could happen if I don’t get a consent order?
Without a consent order, either party can apply to the court for a financial order at a later date. So, even if you have reached agreement and divided your assets formally, 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 is all done by post.
Once the paperwork and court fee has been registered, it will be sent to a judge to approve the order
What is the court fee associated with a consent order?
The current court fee for filing a consent order is £50.00. This will need to be attached to your draft agreement when sent to the court.