Unfortunately, marriages break down and spouses are forced to make a decision over who gets what, either in a court of law or mutually without legal intervention.
The problem is, financial disputes can arise and even when things seem to have been settled, exes can return and start to claim assets that the other spouse believes are rightfully theirs, among a vast array of other issues.
That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a consent order, otherwise known as a clean break order, and protect yourself from losing more than is justifiable in a divorce.
What is a consent order?
A consent order is the legal document by which financial matters are finalised on divorce.
Without one, you may be vulnerable to your partner making a financial claim years later.
The advantages of a consent order
One of the great benefits of a consent order is that it is a cost-effective way of getting your financial divorce settlement in writing, saving loads in legal fees.
What the order ultimately sets out to achieve is a mutual agreement between you and your spouse regarding financial matters, while ensuring the other party cannot come at you with a financial claim in later years.
They are highly reliable documents (99.9% reliable) but there are rare occasions when they can be overturned; for example, if fraud takes place.
What is included in a consent order
1. The home you once shared together
Both parties to the divorce must agree what will become of the former matrimonial home, such as whether it will be sold or left to the spouse in custody of the children (where relevant). You might also consider whether the other spouse will begin or continue to make mortgage payments.
2. Other assets
Next up is to consider what will happen to other relevant assets. These could be shares, endowment insurance policies or a family business, among others. It is necessary to determine how they will be distributed.
3. Personal property and furniture
In a similar vein, it must also be decided what will happen to personal property and furniture, such as who will preserve the fine china. Generally this involves each party taking rightful ownership of their own goods; however, discrepancies can arise over who truly owns what. Typically, a standard clause will suggest each spouse retains goods in their possession at the time the order was drawn up.
Couples making the break in retirement need to decide if they will pursue pension sharing or perhaps offset their funds against other assets.
It must also be decided if one spouse will pay the other maintenance. This is particularly relevant where children are concerned, with most courts ruling the parent with child custody deserving of maintenance. You must also agree when such maintenance payments can be completed; for example, upon death or when the child reaches 17.
6. Child maintenance
It is worth pointing out that while the Child Support Agency (CSA) generally determines child maintenance, courts can also order maintenance and either spouse can apply to the CSA for an assessment.
7. Private health care, insurance and school fees
Other factors that must be taken into consideration are expenses such as insurance premiums, private health care and school fees, especially if one party receives these benefits via their employer.
This clause should outline who will take on the responsibility of any debts of the marriage. If they are joint debts, will the paying party compensate their ex spouse?
Who will takes ownership of the family pet?
10 Termination upon death
The consent order should also outline that neither party will have a claim on the other spouse’s assets after they die.
Consent orders are easy to draw up with Lawpack. Our DIY Consent Order Service can help you to make an order for the fixed price of just £100.