Clean Break Orders & Consent Orders

31 March 2021

A Decree Absolute is what brings a marriage to a legal end in England and Wales. This ends a couples’ marriage, so they're legally able to marry again, but it doesn't end the financial commitment between the couple.

This means you can be legally divorced but if one of you comes into money in the future, the other person could be able to make a claim to that money.

The only way to prevent the risk of a future financial claim is to get a financial consent order or a clean break order from the court. This will sever the financial commitment between you and your ex, meaning neither person can make a claim in the future.

A common mistake people make is thinking there's no need for a financial order if they don't have any assets when they get divorced. This is a common misconception if the couple don't own their own home or if they have no savings or pensions. But this doesn't mean that neither person will acquire money or assets in the future, and without a financial order or consent order a claim could still be made.

A clean break order is for couples getting divorced who don't have assets to divide, but want to end their financial committment to each other. The clean break order would make clear that although there are no assets to divide, neither person will make a financial claim against the other in the future. This would also extend to Wills and the ability to contest a Will. Without a clean break order an ex-spouse could challenge a Will made after the divorce.

A consent order is exactly the same as a clean break order except it's for couples who have financial assets to divide at the time. The couple can either agree the contents of the consent order or, if they don't agree, then they can make an application to the court and ask the court to decide how the assets should be divided. A consent order will list the couple's assets, including any pensions, and show how the assets will be divided. It will also include a paragraph that prohibits either person from making a financial claim against the other in the future.

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