What is a Consent Order in Divorce?
27 November 2017
A Consent Order will make a financial settlement between a divorcing couple legally binding and permanently end all financial ties between them. This means that neither person will be able to make a financial claim against the other in the future. This information applies in England and Wales.
A Consent Order can be granted by the court during divorce proceedings. It’s important for couples to obtain a Consent Order when they are going through a divorce, or civil partnership dissolution, and have financial assets to split.
The Consent Order is made up of three main sections:
- Recitals - Agreements that have been reached between the couple
- Undertakings - Promises made to the Court that the agreements won’t be breached
- Orders - Agreements ordered by the court, usually including property and financial assets.
When to get a Consent Order?
It’s important for couples to obtain a Consent Order when they are going through divorce proceedings and have financial assets to split. This could include property, joint bank accounts, investments, shares and pensions.
When a couple divorce, or dissolve a civil partnership, it’s a very good idea to ensure that financial matters are fully resolved. While a Decree Absolute will legally end the marriage between the couple, it will not legally end their financial commitments to one another. This means that in the future one person can make a legitimate claim to money from the other, even decades after the divorce was completed.
Couples who agree as to how they will split their financial assets at the time of the divorce could feel that it’s an unnecessary expense to obtain a Consent Order. But it’s important to bear in mind that the divorce settlement agreement they have reached would not be legally binding without this. This means that if one person was to inherit money years down the line and no Consent Order had been obtained at the time of the divorce, then the other person could still be entitled to claim a share of that inheritance.
How to Get a Consent Order
If the divorcing couple are able to reach an agreement amicably as to how their finances should be divided, then they can have a Consent Order drawn up by a Divorce Solicitor based on this agreement. This agreement will clarify exactly how the financial assets will be divided between the couple. As the name implies, it is essential that both people ‘consent’ to the agreement.
It’s also necessary for both individuals to fully disclose their financial circumstances in a ‘Statement of Information’ which will then be sent to the Court along with the Consent Order for consideration.
The Court does not have to agree to the Consent Order, regardless of the fact that it has already been agreed by the couple. The Court will use their discretion to determine whether the agreement between the couple is fair and whether each person can actually afford to fulfil their side of the agreement.
Providing that the proposed financial agreement is fair and reasonable, it’s quite unlikely that the court would take issue with it. Once the Consent Order has been approved it then becomes very difficult for either person to dispute the financial agreement in the future.
It’s a good idea for both people to obtain separate independent legal advice from their own Divorce Solicitor when drawing up a Consent Order. This will ensure that the agreement reached is a fair one and, as such, is more likely to be approved by the court.
At Co-op Legal Services our Fixed Fee Divorce provides you with a Divorce Solicitor to help you through the usual steps in an uncontested divorce.
For free initial divorce advice call our Divorce Solicitors on 03306069626 or contact us online and we will call you.