Do I Need a Clean Break Order When I Divorce?
12 April 2018
A Clean Break Order can be granted by the Court after a divorce to sever all financial ties between the couple. Without one either person could make a financial claim against the other in the future.
If you and your ex do not have joint assets to split, but you want to ensure that neither can make a financial claim against the other in the future, then it’s important to obtain a Clean Break Order.
Couples who do have money or assets to divide at the time of divorce would need to get a slightly different Court Order called a Consent Order. Again, this would then sever any financial commitments between them.
What is a Clean Break Order?
A Clean Break Order is a type of financial Court Order which enables you to separate your matrimonial finances from those of your ex. This means that you would no longer be required to financially support them and they would have no entitlement to claim any money from you in the future.
Essentially, any financial commitments that you have to your ex (either current or potential future commitments) would end.
Why is a Clean Break Order Important?
Many people believe that if they get a divorce, then once this has been completed and the Decree Absolute has been issued, any ties they had to their ex will have been severed. Unfortunately this is not the case.
In the eyes of the law the marriage will indeed have ended and either person could then legally marry someone else, but the law in England and Wales stipulates that the couple would actually still have a financial commitment to one another.
This means that decades down the line, if one person became financially successful, for example, or inherited a significant sum of money, then the other could be legally entitled to a share of this. Astonishingly, this could happen even though the couple may not have seen or even spoken to one another for decades.
Who Should Get a Clean Break Order?
Clean Break Orders are important for couples who are getting a divorce or dissolving a civil partnership and do not have any joint assets or money to divide at the time of the divorce.
Couples in this situation might feel that obtaining a Clean Break Order is an unnecessary expense and an added stress when they have no financial matters to resolve at the time. However, it’s a necessary measure to take to ensure the protection of each person’s finances in the future.
How Can I Get a Clean Break Order?
A Clean Break Order should be drawn up by a Divorce Solicitor to ensure the agreement is fair to each person in the divorce, otherwise the Judge is unlikely to approve it.
Once a Divorce Solicitor has drawn up the Clean Break Order on your behalf, it will be sent to the Court, where a Judge will review it to check that it’s fair and that everything is in order. If the Judge is happy, then your Clean Break Order will be granted.
How Much Does a Clean Break Order Cost?
Co-op Legal Services can prepare your Clean Break Order for a fixed fee. This is providing that your and your ex’s financial situation is not unusually complicated. There is also a Court fee of £50 which will need to be paid directly to the Court.
We realise that your financial circumstances could be more complicated than this. For example you might own property jointly, have shared pensions or investments to consider, have agreed to ongoing maintenance payments or have business assets to divide between you.