Consent Order & Separation Agreement
Create a Consent Order
Just sharing a useful conversation I had with a family lawyer about turning the financial agreement into a Consent Order to become legally binding at the final order stage of the divorce.
Form D81: Provide information about both parties’ financial circumstances to support your application for a consent order. Fill in this ‘statement of information’ to help the court decide if the financial and property arrangements you’ve made with your ex-partner are fair.
But you need to have your Clean Break or Consent Order ready to submit.
Even if you have no assets to split – get a Clean Break Order. It protects you from your spouse trying to get money off you later one which legally they can do – even after you are divorced!
From a lawyers perspective where they are brought in right at the end, they will often ask the client to sign a disclaimer because they are not able to know all the workings out that have gone on, and they don’t want to put their name to something that they have been involved with all along. This isn’t an issue, but it is important to make sure you get good financial advice on your financial agreement anyway, and as long as you are confident about what you’ve agreed to, all is well.
When you ask a lawyer to turn an agreement into a Consent Order, the lawyer hopes very much that it comes in the form of a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) which has been drawn up by a mediator who is good at that sort of thing. Not all of them are. If they have legal training – it’s more likely – but not necessarily.
So how do you know? Well, I would simply ask the question of a mediator early on: “do you have any family law solicitors who can give you a testimonial for the quality of your MOU?”
They may not like – or be used to being asked that question – but if you are going to be paying for the Consent Order, the price can increase quite a bit if the MOU has not been carefully thought through and well structured. It needs to include not just your post-divorce agreement, but what happens ‘if the house doesn’t sell’ or other variables. Of course I would hope all of this has been talked through whilst working with a financial planner, so should all be included anyway.
When you get a quote for the creation of a Consent Order based upon the MOU, where both parties are fully in agreement, then a fixed price or ‘price range’ is reasonable to request. Many lawyers prefer not to fix the price because the time it takes can vary so much, but if you present them with a strong MOU, they should be able to give you at least a maximum price.
The lawyer I spoke with gave a range of £750 + vat going up to as much as £3,000 if there is a load of argy bargy. Argy bargy can happen if the other spouse has their ‘independent legal advice’ session on the draft Consent Order, and suddenly starts prevaricating. It can happen, so lawyers allow for that. But if you have a well worked agreement there is no reason why that should happen to you.
That £750 + vat DOES include independent legal advice for one of you, just so you know. And the reason for the independent legal advice, is so that not only is that solicitor confident that the Consent Order is reflecting what you and your spouse have agreed, but also the courts like to know that you won’t be popping back in a year claiming you didn’t understand what you were agreeing to. The cost may not also includes the filling in and submission of the D81 form plus explanatory notes, but that is less than £100 to file at the time of writing.
If your financial agreement isn’t complex, you can get a Clean Break Order / Consent Order from £499 using the links below.
It really is worth getting a Clean Break Order (no ongoing maintenance payments) or a Consent Order. IF your finances are so simple/non-existent then a Divorce Online Managed Divorce and Consent Order package will do the job. That could also be fine if you have used mediation and created an MOU and you want to be sure that it becomes legally binding. But if you have a tricky Ex who might try to wriggle out of your agreement or a complex financial settlement, then that extra cost of using lawyers you can speak to face to face, even if that’s over zoom, needs to be in your divorce budget, ideally split by the two of you.
For the very simple financial splits then here is the link to access low cost clean break/consent order (now combined):
Court application for legal fees – England, Wales, Northern Ireland
If you can’t pay your legal fees, a court can order your ex-partner (husband, wife or civil partner) to pay them.
The amount they pay would be taken into account when working out a financial settlement.
This isn’t something that courts routinely do, but they do make these orders in some cases.
You would normally have to show that you have explored every other option to finance your legal fees and that your ex-partner has the means to pay.
There are costs associated with it.
Funding from your ex: Your ex-partner might not be an obvious source of funding for legal fees. But, in some cases, one partner will agree to pay the other’s fees (without the court ordering this) in order to get the finances settled quickly.
You and your ex-partner might agree this, or your solicitor might ask them on your behalf.
UK: Register ‘Home Rights’
UK: You can register your ‘home rights’ with HM Land Registry – this can help stop your partner from selling your home. There are different rules if you own the property jointly with your spouse or civil partner, or if you’re not married or in a civil partnership.
How to fill in the D81 Form (UK)
Separation Agreements (UK)