Beverley Morris and Co. Latest News News Consent Orders Financial Agreement In Divorce

It is often thought that once a couple gets divorced, this dismisses their financial claims against each other. While this would be correct if the parties had entered into a Consent Order to reflect the financial agreement they had reached upon divorce, or if the Court has made an order after a Final Hearing, it is far from being a universal rule.

Often parties are keen to end their marriage on an amicable basis and agree how they will divide their assets and thereafter agree that they will not make any claims against the other. In many cases, the parties do not feel the need to involve solicitors. They will happily act in person in respect of the divorce and obtain the decree absolute thinking that because this ends their marriage it must also end all claims against the other in respect of the marriage. This is not, however, the case as, if the parties do not have a suitably worded Court Order, their respective claims against the other will remain open after the Decree Absolute, or until such an order is made. Consequently, if one party’s financial situation improves after the Decree Absolute, the other party can apply to the Court for a financial remedy. This could be for any order under the Matrimonial legislation including lump sum, property adjustment, maintenance or pension sharing orders.

An amicable split is, of course, a sensible objective for both parties to have. In an amicable divorce, the way to avoid such a risk is to enter into a properly drafted Consent Order. This is a document which contains the appropriate terms and which both parties sign, agreeing that those terms are acceptable. It may also include claims to dismiss any future claims that either party may have over the other under the Matrimonial and Inheritance legislation, therefore giving a Clean Break.

If no agreement can be reached, then an application will need to be made to the court for Financial Remedy which would ultimately produce an order imposed by a District Judge.

Whether arrived at amicably or not, a Final Order is essential to protect divorcing parties’ respective future interests, particularly if they intend to remarry or if their financial situation could change significantly to their benefit.