Consent Orders - What could happen if you don't have one?

Often in the past, when marriages were not working, couples would stay together for the sake of security. However, terminating a marriage has become more accepted, even common, in recent years.
These days, most unhappy marriages end in divorce. But the process of divorce is not complete with the receiving of a decree nisi. It should be followed by a 'Clean Break agreement and Consent order' signed by both the parties and enforceable by law.

A clean break and consent order agreement is reached between the divorced couple. It helps them to discuss and arrive at a consensus about dividing all the possessions like land, buildings, investments, personal savings, chattels, marketable shares, insurance policies, spouse and kid maintenance, retirement funds including the annuity sharing orders. A clean order form signed by the divorced partners is submitted to the court for issuing a clean break and consent order. Normally the order will be issued within 2 to 3 weeks.

This clean break and consent order ensures that every financial aspect of divorce and its future implications are discussed and arrived at an agreement between the divorcing partners. The judge issuing the orders will go through all the financial details of the divorcing couple. After getting satisfied that the agreement is reasonable and realistic to implement, he will issue the clean break and consent order. It ensures that either of the divorced couples will not be able to make any further claim on the other after the issuance of consent order.

A clean break and consent order is advisable and available to all the divorcing partners. When the couples have children within the age of 18 years or where there are very young children caught up in the divorce feud, the court may not issue a clean break. It may only issue a consent order deciding on assets and will not issue clean break order about maintenance payments which will continue for a specific period of time.

A clean break agreement and Consent order is possible only when there is total accord between the divorcing couple concerning all the finance and asset-related issues.

The formalities of Clean Break and Consent Order are usually completed within 2 -3 weeks. The procedure to obtain the Consent Order is extremely straightforward and does not involve either party attending court in most circumstances. A few sittings with the lawyer or just engaging an online support agency by simply completing the online form and making the payment will complete the process.

Contents of a Clean Break and Consent Order

A Clean Break and Consent order is issued by the court after the exhaustive discussions by the couples and filing their Consent Order in the court. This clean break order issued by the court ensures that neither of the divorced spouses will make any claim on the assets of the other at a later stage after the divorce. The following are generally discussed and included in the clean break order:

  • Total amount payable by one spouse to other

  • A share in matrimonial home or full part of it or none

  • Transfer of whole or part of endowment policy profits to the other spouse

  • Sharing of matrimonial assets or the proceeds of sale

  • Apportioning of conjugal possessions such as belongings in home, combined reserves and funds, Motor car etc.

  • Agreeing on the money-related clauses of earlier made separation agreement

  • Corroborating that all the prior pecuniary accords are ultimate


Who Needs Clean Break and Consent orders?

Clean break and consent order is good for all the divorcing couples except those who have children under the age of 18 and need regular payments for their maintenance post-divorce. Clean break and consent order is very essential for the younger divorcees, in particular, who look forward to be free without any future financial implications.

What could Happen If There is no Clean Break and Consent Order?

A clean break and consent order eliminates the perceived risk of the other party going back to the court for an enhanced claim after some years. A clean break and consent order from the court ensures that there will be no more financial implications of any sort in the future.
In the absence of a clean break and consent order there is enough scope for the other partner to make further financial claims. This type of financial claims are more when there is a windfall of fortune to one of the partners or when there is an escalation of economic and living conditions. The other aggrieved partner may move to court to make further financial claims legally.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Clean Break

The main advantage of a clean break is it sorts out all the financial dealings and implications to both the couple. It gives them a clear-cut idea of the financial obligations of each divorcing partner to each other when the clean break order is pronounced by the court. It ensures a kind of total freedom to both the divorcing partners from all the future financial implications of the divorce. It allows either of the couple to remarry in spite of receiving a lump sum.

The major disadvantage of a clean break is it denies any increase in the lump sum even in the case of absolute need by the other spouse like falling ill or losing employment at a later period. In the absence of any obligation no support will come forward from the ex-spouse.

It is always prudent to weigh all the options before applying for a clean break and consent order.
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