Divorce financial orders explained
29 October 2020
A Decree Absolute will bring your marriage to a legal end but it will not end the financial commitments that exist between you and your ex-spouse.
To cut all financial ties with your ex-spouse, you need to apply to the Court for a financial order. It's important to do this even if you don't have any significant assets right now, as it will also protect any wealth you acquire in the future. Without a divorce financial order, there will always be a risk that your ex could make a financial claim against you, even years after your divorce.
Finalising the divorce settlement
If you are getting divorced, you will need to work out the financial aspects of your separation. For example:
- How are you going to split the equity of the family home?
- Is there a pension that should be shared?
- Is one person going to provide the other with spousal or child maintenance?
These are all issues that need to be addressed when finalising your divorce financial settlement. Some people can make an agreement between themselves, often because the divorce is amicable or there are very few assets to divide. In other cases the divorce financial settlement will be disputed and a couple may need help coming to an agreement, either through Mediation or by negotiating through a divorce solicitor. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the matter can be heard in the Courts where a Judge will make a final decision.
Getting a divorce financial order
Once the divorce financial settlement has been agreed and finalised, you should have the agreement made legally binding. You can do this by applying to the Court for a financial order.
Often people getting a divorce do not realise this is even a possibility. However, you need to be aware that in England & Wales an ex-spouse can legally request further money from you at any point. A financial order is the only way to ensure that any financial obligations between you and your ex are cut.
There are two main financial orders - a consent order and a clean break order.
Consent orders are for divorcing couples who have assets to divide and who want to make their Financial Settlement legally binding. A Divorce Solicitor can help you draft the consent order, after which it should be sent to the Court for approval. If the Judge deems it to be fair the consent order will be approved, from which point neither person can make a financial claim against the other.
Clean break orders are for divorcing couples who do not have any assets to divide, but who still want to ensure any financial ties between them are cut.
Many people assume that because they don't have any assets at the time of the divorce, there is no point in getting a financial order. What is the point in protecting money you don't have? But it's wrong to assume this because there is always the possibility that you will acquire money in the future. If you do, your ex is within their legal rights to make a financial claim. As with a consent order, a divorce solicitor can help you draft a clean break order, which must then be approved by a Judge.
You do not need both a consent order and a clean break order. Only one will be suitable for you, depending upon the assets you currently own. Our family law and divorce solicitors can explain the options available, and suggest which is best for your circumstances.
For more information see clean break order Case Studies: