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Financial Consent Orders - do you need one?

Financial consent orders on divorce – do I need one?

The short answer to this question is most likely to be yes , if you have any assets or any prospect of an inheritance. Or an improvement in your Financial circumstances in the future.  If you would like to instruct a solicitor to prepare the financial consent order and submit this to the court than  please contact Laurence Holmes, solicitor near Bristol.

What is a financial consent order?

A financial consent order is a document that sets out the financial agreement a divorcing couple or couple dissolving a civil partnership has reached. It is only valid if it has been drawn up correctly and has been approved and sealed by The Family Court. The contents of the document will vary to reflect the individual couple’s financial circumstances and the nature of their agreement. For example, it could provide for the family home to be transferred to the wife and define what share of the proceeds each party will receive. It might simply say that neither party has any further financial claim against the other’s income and assets. I.e., a clean-break order. Alternatively, the financial consent order could be a lengthy document dealing with the payment of maintenance, or pension sharing orders.

My husband and I have agreed to go our separate ways. We don’t have any assets do we need a financial consent order?

Yes. Anyone who gets divorced  becomes entitled, in principle, to make financial claims against their spouse. If they are not dismissed and your spouse has not remarried, those claims remain ‘live’ forever. A financial consent order drafted by a solicitor and approved by the court can change this and ensure that any financial ‘loose ends’ will not cause trouble in future.
Life is unpredictable and the unexpected can happen. Couples who divorce but do not enter into a financial consent order could find themselves in difficulty years or even decades later because of the uncertainty caused by not dealing properly with the financial aspects of their split.
Indeed, there was a lot of news coverage about the 2015 Supreme Court case involving Dale Vince and Kathleen Wyatt. The couple were virtually penniless when they divorced and no financial consent order was approved by the court. Mr Vince, who started out as a New Age traveller, had built up a multi-million pound sustainable energy business. The Supreme Court confirmed Ms Wyatt’s right to make some sort of financial claim against him, 30 years after their split. This is an unusual case, but it underlines the fact that financial claims upon divorce never disappear unless a financial order is in place. Few people become multi-millionaires, but very many will build up pensions, savings and equity in property as they go through life, which could become vulnerable to claims by a former spouse if things are not dealt with properly at the point of divorce.
Contact me if you need a solicitor in Bristol or Weston-super-Mare area.

I am going to stay in the family home and buy my husband out. The bank has approved my mortgage application to remortgage and we are about to go ahead with the transfer.

Is a financial consent order needed?

This situation is common and is one where a consent order is very important.
It is much better for various reasons if the house transfer of equity tales place pursuant to a court order.
For instance,  after ownership of the house has been transferred, a couple’s financial claims against each other do not come to an end. A consent order recording the agreement to transfer the house to one party in exchange for a payment to the other would bring such claims to an end and ensure that the clean break they both want remains a reality.

I would like to get a financial consent order but I don’t want to go to court.

If a financial agreement has been reached, then the court’s role is to read through a copy of the financial consent order alongside a statement of information form D81 giving very brief details of you and your spouse’s financial situation. Provided the order has been drafted correctly and your agreement is reasonably fair, it will be sealed and become binding as soon as your divorce is finalised or the order is made whichever is the later.

We can’t agree everything at the moment. What should we do?

Even if you and your partner are finding it difficult to reach an agreement, there are many alternatives to help you sort things out. One option is to attend mediation. Provided the agreement you reach is later set out in the form of a financial consent order, this could be a good way to achieve a settlement and ensure it is legally binding. Negotiations can also be undertaken through solicitors. As long as any agreement reached is turned into a financial consent order then it’s up to you how you get there. Contact Laurence Holmes if you are involved in a complex Divorce or Separation case and are looking for a Bristol solicitor.

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