Consent orders

During a divorce you may hear a number of legal terms which you are not familiar with and one which tends to come later in the process is a consent order. This is the document which details the financial agreement made by you and your former spouse. Once the consent order is approved by the court, it becomes legally binding. It may also prevent you or your former spouse from trying to make a financial claim at a later date, (although there are some conditions to this).

The consent order covers everything around your finances and assets and can also deal with day to day issues such as who would cover the cost of repairs to your property, vehicle or other major expenses whilst you await the divorce being finalised. A consent order helps provide security for both parties and peace of mind.

Without a consent order or any other written agreement, it would be possible for one of the parties to dispute the decisions and arrangements previously agreed – typically when agreements have been made informally or without a solicitor. This can create unnecessary stress and uncertainty and no one wants their new life disrupted by the issues of their past relationship.

The consent order can be drafted by your solicitor and it will cover the division of all assets including if you own a home, items owned before the marriage or inherited and also your pension or life policy.

Typically, many couples agree to sell a home they jointly own and to divide the proceeds once any mortgage lending has been repaid. Other arrangements may include one party buying the share of the home from the other person at the market value, so they can remain in the property. Alternatively, one person may take ownership of the property and the other keep other assets bought jointly.

If either party has a pension or life insurance policy this is often divided at its current value and/or shares agreed for future payments perhaps to offset an interest in a property.

Ongoing maintenance payments to cover the cost of raising a child/ren can seem onerous and there may be concerns about obligations being met, so many couples prefer to have a consent order which, sets out details such as whether payments continue if the other party remarries or enters another long-term relationship. This order could also cover costs such as school and University fees.

Other expenses such as debts should also be included in the consent order detailing who will be responsible for repaying them, along with details of any assets that will be used to offset the debts for the benefit of the other party.

Coming to a fair settlement which you both agree to and which is legally binding is important, so get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspect of your finances and divorce.

Sunita Chauhan can be contacted at