Ins & Outs of Consent Orders In Divorce
This blog post was written to help those that want to obtain a consent order but don’t have the money or time to instruct a solicitor.
Reading this article will help you understand the ins and outs of obtaining a financial order following divorce.
We want you to feel comfortable and confident arranging your financial settlement without compromising your future, which is why we stress that you should seek legal advice, even if it’s to look over your agreed split to ensure you’re achieving a fair settlement of held assets.
Please use the links below to quickly find the most important information to you.
Everything you need to know about consent orders
- What is a consent order
- When can you file for a consent order
- What can be included in a consent order
- Can you file a consent order yourself
- How much does obtaining a financial order cost
- Why obtaining a consent order is important
- How to deal with a rejected consent order
- Not ready for divorce but want to deal with your finances
What is a consent order?
A consent order is a legal order, prepared with the consent of both parties to the divorce, which details out how the couple will separate all matrimonial assets and finances, such as property and pensions.
As the name suggests a consent order does require the consent of both parties and unfortunately without this agreement, there cannot be a consent order.
If you can agree on the division of assets without the assistance of a solicitor, you can save yourself thousands in legal fees.
However, if you are unsure whether the agreed financial settlement is fair, you may consider instructing a solicitor to help you get a fair deal.
There is no need to attend court or indeed have a financial hearing if you can agree between yourselves how assets are going to be split.
A consent order once drafted by a solicitor and signed by both parties can be posted into court with the court fee payment of £50 attached – it should take 3-4 weeks for the order to be made, but does vary depending on where you live.
When can a consent order be filed for?
A consent order cannot be made without a divorce, so if you aren’t ready to divorce but you want to outline your financial settlement, you can obtain a separation agreement, which is advisory and not legally binding.
If you are currently going through divorce proceedings, you can file for a consent order once your case is at the decree nisi stage.
If you are divorced and you want to sever all financial ties from your spouse then you are entitled to file for a consent order at any time.
To make dealing with your divorce easier, we would advise trying to discuss your financial arrangements concurrently with your divorce.
What can be included in a consent order?
A consent order can include any matrimonial assets and finances such as property, lump sum payments, division of joint savings and pension sharing.
The court has powers to make orders for;
- Maintenance (child and spousal)
- Property sale and transfer
- Lump sum payments of money
- Pension sharing
- Debt provision
Anything the court cannot order on can be dealt with by an undertaking, which is a promise to the court to carry out a specific action.
If these actions are not followed through, the court can intervene and enforce it.
Filing a consent order – can you do it yourself?
You can file the consent order yourself without needing to hire a solicitor to handle this for you.
However, it does depend on how comfortable you are dealing with the courts if, for example, they raise questions regarding how the financial settlement was made.
A qualified solicitor must draft a consent order for it to pass through court and be made legally binding.
Any template order that you can find online will encounter issues from the Judge with regards to how it’s been drafted.
How much does obtaining a consent order cost?
You have 2 options when it comes to how you obtain a consent order.
- High-street solicitors
- Online divorce solicitors
A standard consent order will cost you between £700-£800+VAT with most high-street solicitor firms. (This does not include clauses such as pension sharing)
A consent order drafted by online divorce solicitors costs between £150-£300 including VAT. Our service includes clauses such as pension sharing and costs just £249 fixed fee. Call us on 01793 384 032 for more information.
Unless you are unsure whether your financial settlement is fair and want legal advice, there is no need to spend nearly £1,000 on having a consent order drafted.
We’ve processed over 50,000 financial orders since 2003, saving each couple on average £600, which is a combined total of £3 million.
Why obtaining a consent order should be a priority following a divorce
Financial orders are far too commonly overlooked following divorce and sometimes it comes round and bites you on the backside.
The case of Nigel Page, the lucky lottery winner was forced to pay £2m to his ex-partner after 10 years of separation because they were still financially tied.
It’s believed that Mr Page’s divorce did not include a clean break order clause, which prevents a spouse from making a claim against future earnings or wealth.
Now, I know what you are thinking, “I’m not lucky enough to win the lottery” so what’s the point. I’m sure Mr Page thought the same.
Indeed, it’s not just lottery wins that can be claimed against in the future; remember this was 10 years on from the date of their divorce.
Any improved wealth through increased salaries, bonuses, promotion, lump-sum payments or inheritance can be claimed against if there is no financial order.
Hopefully, this example is enough reason for you to strongly consider getting a consent order in place following your divorce.
What to do if the judge rejects your consent order
The judge has the necessary power to reject any financial order they deem to be unfair.
It’s often the case that a party to the divorce is pressured or bullied into accepting the offer on the table because ‘it’s better than nothing’. This is usually the party that earns significantly less than the other party.
If the judge believes that the order is unfair to either party they can reject the order and query whether each party has taken legal advice for example.
The judge will look into the incomes, pension pots and share of the money from the sale or transfer of property of both parties when deciding whether or not the order is fair.
A general rule of thumb for making sure your financial order isn’t grossly unfair to one party is to make sure that the division of assets does not exceed 70/30.
However, if the parties are satisfied with the financial agreement but the court will not grant the consent order, they can still put these matters into effect.
Doing this though does not obtain a ‘clean break’ clause and making future claims is an option for both parties.
Not ready for divorce but want to arrange your finances?
Wanting to arrange your finances is a sensible consideration when contemplating divorce.
If you are not ready to petition for divorce but want to get your finances in order, then the best cause of action is to obtain a separation agreement.
A separation can include your proposed financial settlement when you are ready to file for divorce.
Unlike a consent order, it’s not legally binding.
The separation agreement will be advisory, but it provides the judge with a good point of reference were there to be contests of finances at a later date.
If when you come to divorce there is no longer agreement on the financial side and the judge is asked to make an order they will look at the separation agreement to what was agreed previously.
How we can help you with your financial order
Our solicitors can draft you a consent order based on your agreed financial settlement for £150 fixed fee.
There are no hidden or extra fees for this service, bar the standard court fee for filing a consent order, which is currently £50 (this applies to every application, not just yours).
View our consent order service and let us help you save over £600 on the cost of obtaining a legally binding financial order.
It does not matter whether you are already divorced or just entering divorce proceedings, we can help in both situation.
For more information simply call us on 01793 382 032 for free advice and information, or you can email us today.