You may think that the financial ties that exist between a husband and a wife are severed permanently following a divorce, but this is not the case.
In fact, until a court order determining precisely how a couple’s assets are to be divided has been put in place, either party can make a claim on the other’s assets at any time – that’s why we have what are colloquially known as Clean Breaks.
Consent Orders, to call them their correct, legal name, are documents that describe precisely how various assets such as properties, cars, pensions, furnishings and other items of significant value are to be divided between the two parties. As the name implies, though, both parties must agree on this division in order for the courts to approve of the order.
It is possible to obtain a divorce without having such an order put in place, of course. It is also possible to finalise a divorce without requesting that the courts determine how assets should be divided. Should you do this, however, then, as discussed above, either party can make a claim against the other.
Now, many people will argue that a former spouse would be entitled to a substantial share of the winnings should the other win the lottery in order to argue the merits of such an order.
In spite of the fact that such an example is distinctively unrealistic, there are several infinitely more likely windfalls that divorcing couples would do well to remember: pay rises, inheritance and growing property values to name but a few. Provided an agreement can be reached, then it is always advisable that a Consent Order be obtained – if only for the peace of mind that it provides.
It is infinitely more important to ensure that the provisions afforded through the agreement are sufficient to support you for a reasonable period of time.
It may seem like a good idea to rush through an agreement in order to lower your stress levels but, as you’ll only find yourself feeling much more anxious if you later release that you’ve left yourself in a precarious financial situation this is little more than a false economy.
Should you feel that a Consent Order is something that you’d like to obtain, though, be warned: you’ll not only need to get the order itself prepared, but additional documents that clearly describe your current financial circumstances (i.e. your current earnings, savings, debts etc.) as will your spouse. These documents are needed as the courts must be provided with evidence to show that both parties are aware of the other’s financial position as they simply could not consent to an agreement concerning the division of their finances if they did not.
Yes, people can, and indeed have, falsified figures for these documents and unfair and unreasonable agreements have been approved as a result. Fortunately, this is also regularly discovered at a later date making the agreements null and void and bringing about expensive further legal proceedings.
Still, if you trust your soon-to-be former spouse and can agree on how to divide your assets in a way that suits both parties’ needs, then a Consent Order is a cost-effective way of getting the peace of mind that comes from knowing that a binding financial order is in place.