It’s a common misconception that finances are dealt with as part of your divorce proceedings when in fact, even after a divorce, you and your ex-spouse will still be financially linked unless you have obtained a separate financial order.
Your divorce is only the legal ending of your marriage or partnership therefore you will need to obtain a financial consent order separately to deal with financial assets.
Here, we explain exactly what a financial order is, if you need one, and how to get one.
What is a financial order?
A financial consent order is a type of Court Order which details how you and your ex-spouse will deal with your finances upon divorce. Financial orders can be straightforward and less expensive if both parties agree on how to split any assets.
Once agreed upon, details will be documented in a consent order which will need to be approved by the court and made legally binding.
It’s important to take legal advice when going through the divorce process to ensure that you protect your financial interests and ensure that any agreed split of finances is a fair one for you and your children.
How is this different from a clean break?
A clean break is the most basic form of a consent order that will cut any financial ties between you and your ex-spouse. Without this, one could claim against the other many years after your divorce which therefore puts inheritance and financial gains at risk.
Do I need a financial order if there are no financial assets?
Although not recommended, you could divorce without legally agreeing on finances. Within a no-fault divorce, more time is taken to increase the awareness of financial orders.
At Beyond Legal, we encourage all divorcing couples to seek a financial consent order even if there are no assets to split to offer long-term protection. Financial consent orders are legally binding therefore offering piece of mind for the future whereas clean break orders essentially cut all financial ties.
Can I get a financial order without spousal consent?
Both parties must agree when considering a financial order. The reason being that both parties must provide financial information therefore you can’t apply for a consent order if your spouse is unwilling to provide financial disclosure or sign the statement of information.
What is included in a financial order?
To proceed with a financial order, you must submit a Statement of Information to the course which details your financial position. The court will use this to support its decision. As a minimum, this must include:
Equity in properties
Total savings and investments
Total liabilities (not mortgage debt)
Total pension valuations
Monthly income, broken into income from employment, benefits, child maintenance payments, pension or other income.
Is Child Maintenance included in a financial consent order?
Many people want to include child maintenance in a financial consent order to demonstrate proof of income for a mortgage or rental agreement.
Child maintenance can be included in a financial consent order, but it is only legally binding for 12 months after which time, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has jurisdiction for the enforcement of child maintenance, including calculating the amount due.
How do I get a financial order?
The first step in getting a financial order is agreeing on finance arrangements with your spouse, then you must ask the court to make it legally binding.
It is recommended that you get legal advice in drafting the consent order, as it needs to be written in a particular way with no ambiguity. This ensures it is legally watertight and cannot be contested in any way further down the line.
Will I have to go to court?
It is often the case that financial settlements can be negotiated and agreed upon without having to go to court. Even if it seems that there are limited assets to split, you never know what will happen to your future financial circumstances.
If, for example, you stand to inherit wealth after the divorce, a future claim could still be brought by your ex-spouse.
Where should I begin?
If you are currently going through a divorce and are looking for advice on obtaining a financial order, then we can help. Get in touch for a free consultation today.