I recall one time I had afternoon tea with several members of my family and we had an interesting discussion about divorce and what getting divorced actually means for individuals going through the process.
Throughout our discussions, I was reminded of a popular misconception that many share, which is that when you obtain a divorce that ‘that is it’ and your financial obligations to your ex-spouse are completely severed. This is not true and as a family lawyer, I advise clients daily of the importance of resolving the financial matters by way of a Clean Break Consent Order.
What is a Clean Break Consent Order?
A Clean Break Consent Order is an order of the Court which many divorcing couples enter into and means that neither party can make a future financial claim in respect of the others income and assets. They are fundamental and provide the utmost protection to prevent claims being made in respect of the marriage at a later date. In the absence of a Clean Break Consent Order there always remains a risk that an ex-spouse can make a financial claim in respect of the marriage even if you have divorced.
Often client’s say to me “there are no finances to sort out” but it’s always best to get this checked by a solicitor who will be able to advise you appropriately on whether or not you require an Order. Income and assets claims can occur even decades after the divorce and can be made based upon a party’s current financial situation and doesn’t necessarily need to reflect the financial situation at the time of separation and divorce.
A famous case of Vince v Wyatt saw the couple divorce in 1992 but without a Clean Break Consent Order thus allowing Wyatt an opening to make claim to Vince’s new found wealth amassed through the creation of the green energy company, Ecotricity. Although Wyatt was awarded a ‘modest’ sum of £300,000 and a mere fraction of Vince’s new found wealth, it’s a case and point that seeking a Clean Break Consent Order is the wisest thing to do even if your finances and assets at time of divorce are considered small and meaningless.
Do I need a Solicitor to make a Clean Break Consent Order?
In short, yes. A Clean Break Consent Order is an order of the Court therefore it must be drafted by a solicitor to ensure that it contains all of the necessary provisions to protect you and to prevent any future claims being made.
Here are my top tips for making a Clean Break Consent Order
- It is best practice to have the Consent order prepared by a Solicitor
This is extremely important as a Solicitor will ensure that the Order contains all of the necessary legal provisions to protect you against any future claims.
- Obtain Legal Advice Before Signing the Clean Break Consent Order
Whilst it is advisable for the Clean Break Consent Order to be drafted by a Solicitor, neither party needs legal representation to sign it and accept it. To be certain you are signing something that will not cause issue at a later date it’s wise to seek legal advice before proceeding to sign the document.
- Don’t feel rushed into signing the Clean Break Consent Order
When you sign the Clean Break Consent Order you are agreeing to its terms and agreeing to a clean break which removes any entitlement to pursue a future claim. It does however remove any entitlement for a claim to be made against you.
If you feel there are outstanding financial matters to be dealt with then these should be fully resolved before you commit to the clean break.
- Be sure to budget for the costs associated with a Consent Order
A solicitor will charge for their services. A consent order from Thornton Jones Solicitors costs from £750 plus VAT*. There is also a fee of £50 payable to the Court for the filing of the Consent order.
*prices correct at time of publishing. We recommend viewing our website or speaking with us to obtain an accurate cost.
If you are separated and are looking to divorce then Thornton Jones can help. We have a wealth of experience in Family Law including Collaborative Law and Mediation and of course we can help with the writing and filing of a Clean Break Consent Order.
For more information and to make an appointment please call us to discuss your needs, or contact us here and we'll be happy to help.
Call our Wakefield office on 01924 290 029
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