Financial Settlement on Divorce

It is not unusual for couples divorcing or dissolving their civil partnership not to use divorce lawyers. It is generally a straightforward process when both agree that the relationship is over.

However, it is not generally known that the financial claims which each have against the other, remain open until dismissed by a court order. The person, who divorces the other, by issuing a divorce petition, is known as the Petitioner. And the person divorced by the other, is known as the Respondent. The petition, as standard practice, includes applications to the court for financial orders, which the court has the power to make. This means that the petitioner has made the necessary applications and can proceed with these claims regardless of whether he or she has remarried.

If the Respondent, however, wishes to refer the matter to the court, he or she, can only do so before remarrying. This can cause difficulty if the Petitioner refuses to negotiate an agreed settlement and apply for the court to approve an agreed order (known as a consent order).

If a financial order is not obtained; neither party has the certainty of knowing that claims cannot be brought by their former spouse in the future.

If you and your former spouse have obtained a decree absolute or final order, and separated your finances, then you can apply to the court for a consent order. If you have agreed your divorce settlement we can offer you a fixed fee to prepare or check a consent order.

The order will usually set out a record of what you have already done, and if appropriate what you wish to happen after the order is made. For example, you may have sold a property or policy and divided the funds between you, but one of you may be paying maintenance to the other for him or herself or perhaps children. You may have agreed a clean break and the order can be drafted to provide that. The order will set out what you have decided.

When the application is looked at by the District Judge, he or she, will decide, on examination of the order, a summary of financial assets, and the ages of any dependant children and the arrangements agreed for their welfare, whether the divorce settlement or dissolution settlement that you have agreed is fair,  and if the judge thinks it is, he or she will approve the order.

If you and your former spouse have agreed a financial settlement we can help by preparing, or checking, a consent order on a fixed-fee basis. The fixed-fee will cover taking your initial instructions, drafting/checking and negotiating the final draft of the consent order for submission to the court and applying to the court on your behalf for the order, when it is to be your application. The fixed fee will not apply if you have not already reached agreement on your divorce settlement.

The fixed fee refers to our costs and you will also have to pay a court fee, which is presently £50.  The fixed fee does not cover obtaining or checking financial disclosure from your former partner, other than to prepare a summary for the court in what is called a “statement of information for a consent order”. The court fee may be subject to increase in the future.

We also offer a fixed-fee agreement for undefended divorce proceedings or dissolution of a civil partnership.

Guide to divorce law and procedure

Guide to mediation in settling family disputes

Guide to disputes in relation to children

Fiona Pawsey

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