When a couple divorce, they can make claims against each other for maintenance, lump sums of money and orders in relation to properties and pensions. It is always better to agree a financial settlement and avoid the stress and expense of court proceedings but is it necessary to have an official record of financial arrangements that have been negotiated amicably?
Once a divorce has reached Decree Nisi stage, the Court can be invited to make a Consent Order containing the terms of an agreed financial settlement. Even though there is a consensus about the settlement, the Court must be satisfied that the proposed arrangements are fair before it will approve the Consent Order. It will do this by considering a draft of the Consent Order in the light of a Statement of Information which contains details such as the parties’ ages, the length of the marriage and a breakdown of their assets and income. This will be done without the need for a hearing.
Once approved, a Consent Order will make the settlement legally binding and can contain ‘clean break’ clauses preventing the parties from making financial claims against each other in the future. Without these clauses such claims may remain open and in the absence of a Consent Order, the Court cannot enforce the terms of any agreed settlement if one party decides not to comply.
Ashfords are specialists in advising on and drafting Consent Orders on divorce. Jayne Turner is a Partner in the Family Team in Taunton. She is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in Complex Financial Remedies and Pensions on Divorce, an Advanced Member of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel and trained and experienced collaborative lawyer. Jayne is described in the Legal 500 2018 directory as “sensible, client focused and knowledgeable”.