What is a consent order?
When you are considering a divorce it is most important to protect your assets, both now and in the future. You will want to secure the best life possible for yourself, for your children, and make sure that your partner has some financial security. The way in which this is achieved is through a consent order. This legal document gives you the protection you need, both now and in the future, to make sure that your assets remain under your control. At FAMILY MEDIATION 1 we have the experience you need to draw up a consent order. Our mediation service can also be of great utility in helping you to achieve an appropriate agreement.
Protecting your assets after a divorce
It is very important to consider what might happen to your house, other property, and financial assets after a divorce. Even if you have been paying the full mortgage in your own name there are many factors that determine the allocation of resources. A consent order is central to understanding this complex process.
The consent order
An agreement about how property and assets are to be divided, on maintenance, or on division of pensions, once it is agreed by the court is known as a consent order. The cost of a consent order is minimal, but the costs required in producing a consent order are much greater. You need the correct type of legal advice to produce a consent order and you should always make sure that the legal company you are approaching to produce such an order has the authority to do so.
Clean break consent order
A clean break consent order is potentially a very useful instrument. This means that neither partner can make a future claim on your assets when undertaking a divorce. Clean break orders, as the name implies, are very useful in finalising arrangements for a couple. You need to think very carefully before undertaking a clean break consent order as in the future you will not be able to make a claim for further resources. This can mean that you can not claim for maintenance costs, or to gain a share of the pension, for example. Of course, you will need to specify (fully) your financial assets and liabilities before coming to an agreement that would result in a consent order.
Assets after a divorce
There two possibilities concerning what might happen to your assets. The first is that you can actually agree between you how these assets might be shared. This agreement is forwarded to the court and a judge will then need to approve it. The second is that you can’t come to an agreement and therefore a judge needs to declare what is equitable. In this process, mediation is central as it helps you to arrive at a considered agreement.
Property and consent orders
If a property is to be sold, or otherwise disposed of, a consent order will cover all details of what should happen to the property. This can include not only what will happen to the proceeds of the property after it is sold but even who is to take responsibility for negotiations with the estate agents.
Pensions and consent orders
You will always need a consent order if you wish to divide a pension. This is called a Pension Sharing Order. We always advise you to have a consent order as this will protect you against future legal action. However, it is not mandatory to have a consent order.
Courts and consent orders
Normally, you will not have to attend court to agree a consent order. The judge might decide that the terms of the consent order are fair without your attendance. In some cases a minimal court attendance is required. This is where the judge has a number of questions concerning the order. However, attending court in these circumstances is not too onerous.
The judge’s decision
In approving the order the Judge will take into account several factors. In making their decision the primary document that they will consider is known as the ‘Statement of Information for a Consent Order’. This is a summary of the information which is required. The law relating to consent orders is known as the ‘Matrimonial Causes Act 1973’. The primary consideration in approving a consent order is that it is fair. The judge will also take into account the needs and requirements of children. The aim of judges is usually to accept a consent order, unless there is the need for further questions or information.
In the future, without a consent order, a partner can make a claim against you for maintenance. They can also make a claim against you for property. There is no time limit on this and claims could arise decades after the divorce. However, if your former partner has remarried you can not make a claim. Even after your death it is possible for a claim to be enforced.
The need for agreement
Sometimes a divorcing partner will not agree to sign a consent order. In this case you will require further legal advice to enforce an order. In this case, we can advise on the action you can take. Mediation can help if a particular partner is stubborn.
Contact us for Family Mediation – 03300 101 354