Explained by Senior Family Law & Divorce Solicitor Tracey Moloney
A Decree Absolute is what brings a marriage to a legal end in England and Wales. This severs a couples’ marriage making them legally able to marry again, but a Decree Absolute does not sever the financial commitment that exists between the couple.
This means is that you can be legally divorced but if one or other of the couple come into a windfall, lump sum inheritance etc., the other party could make a claim on those funds.
This ability to make a financial claim can only be severed if the parties obtain a Court Order relating to matrimonial finances. As with the Decree Absolute, the financial Court Order will sever the financial commitment between the parties so that if one of the parties comes into money in the future – it will be protected.
A common mistake people make is thinking that no Court Order is needed for matrimonial finances because there are no assets in the marriage. The property that the married couple have lived in might be rented, they may be no savings or pensions; however nobody knows what may happen in the future. So while during the marriage there may be no assets, if assets come afterwards they are at risk even when the couple are divorced, if no financial Order is made.
The are two types of Financial Orders: Clean Break Orders & Consent Orders
A Clean Break Order is for couples getting a divorce or already divorced who want to end their mutual financial obligations as a married couple. The Clean Break Order would make clear that while there are no assets to be divided between the parties, neither one of them will make a financial claim against the other in the future. This would also extend to Wills and the ability to contest a Will. If a Clean Break Order was not obtained at the time of divorce then the ex-spouse could challenge a Will made after the divorce.
A Consent Order is exactly the same as a Clean Break Order only it is drafted for those couples who have financial assets to be divided. The parties can either agree the contents of the Consent Order or if there is no agreement then they can make an application to the Court and ask the Court to decide how the assets are to be divided. A Consent Order has additional paragraphs to list the assets, including any pensions, and shows how the assets are to be divided between the parties. It will also include a paragraph that prohibits either party from making a financial claim against the other in the future.
In our experience, a lot of people think that applying for a Court Order to settle divorce finances will be a costly and lengthy process. In many divorce cases it provides focus and brings an end to the constant negotiations that can drag on between Divorce Solicitors which can end up costing more than litigation.
Divorce Solicitor Fees
At Co-op Legal Services our Fixed Fee Divorce costs £600 including VAT.
For divorce money matters including Clean Break Orders and Consent Orders our fixed hourly Divorce Solicitor fee starts from £210 per hour including VAT.
Once we have provided you with a written quote for the agreed work, that price will not change.
For free initial divorce advice call our Divorce Lawyers on 03306069626 or contact us online and we will call you.
For additional information see Family Law and Divorce Court Orders.