Divorce ends my financial relationship with my spouse. Right?

Wrong! It is surprising to many people that divorce does not end a financial relationship and long after a marriage is over, if financial matters are not resolved at the time of a divorce and approved by a court, an ex-spouse can still pursue a claim; e.g. if a person receives an inheritance an ex-spouse can seek a share even if the parties have not been married for many years.

How do I ensure that my ex-spouse cannot make any financial claims?

A “Consent Order” approved by a Judge as part of a divorce records an agreed financial/property settlement following a divorce without the need for a court hearing.

What does a Consent Order do?

A legally binding document setting out the financial arrangements that you and your ex-spouse agree on. It contains information about how you will split any assets, pensions and income once you are divorced. Because it is legally binding, it will protect you both if anyone tries to change his or her mind in the future. A Consent Order will often include a “clean break clause” which protects any money or assets that you may earn or receive in the future from being claimed by your ex-spouse.

What information do I need to provide for a Consent Order?

The court is not obliged to approve the Consent Order just because you both agree to its terms, so you cannot assume that the Judge will grant your Order. The court will want to ensure that the Order is reasonable. The Judge will take into consideration the means and circumstances of both parties. For this, you will need to complete a “Statement of Information” which gives a snapshot of your current financial position and future living plans. This requires the following information:

  • Your assets (e.g. bank accounts, business assets, properties, vehicles)
  • Your debts (e.g. credit cards, loans)
  • Your pension (you will need to provide a CETV – Cash Equivalent Transfer Value for each pension you may hold)
  • Your income (you will need to include earnings, benefits, rental income, maintenance)

What is included in a Consent Order?

A Consent Order will set out what you and your ex-spouse have agreed is to happen to the assets listed in the Statement of Information as well as any spouse or child maintenance, lump sums paid from one person to the other, any sharing of pensions and a timetable for when payments will be made or assets transferred.

When do I apply for a Consent Order?

At the decree nisi stage of divorce proceedings, or any time after the decree absolute, providing neither of you has remarried. Once the decree absolute is in place, the Consent Order becomes legally binding and is valid indefinitely.

If you have recently separated, are contemplating separation or have divorced but not reached a financial settlement with your ex-spouse, then the family team at Leeds Day LLP can help. We have four experienced family solicitors and are the largest family law team in Huntingdon, St Neots and St Ives. To find out more, visit our website: www.leedsday.co.uk, or send an email to family@leedsday.co.uk

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