Can you divorce without a consent order?

Originally published on 3rd October 2023 at 12:49 PM
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Yes, but there are many reasons why you should consider getting one.

In this blog, we’ll explore what a consent order is, why they are a good idea and the best time to get one.

Note: It’s the same process for dissolving civil partnerships, so all references to divorce also apply to dissolution.

What is a consent order?

A consent order is a legally binding document that outlines the financial agreements and arrangements made between a divorcing couple.

A consent order is a financial order where a couple is in agreement and would like a judge to approve what they have agreed.

Why do you need a consent order?

If you’re married and have separated from your partner, divorcing alone won’t end your financial relationship . This means that you remain financially tied together indefinitely .

Without a consent order in place, you can both make a future claim on:

  • Income
  • Inheritance
  • Property
  • Savings
  • Pensions

A consent order is legally binding and ends the possibility of future claims.

Can you divorce without a consent order?

Yes, you can divorce or dissolve your civil partnership without a consent order. However, there are implications to this.

  1. Any agreements you reach over your finances aren’t legally binding
  2. If you want a consent order in the future, it’s based on your current financial situation
  3. New partners or children in resulting blended families may miss out on inheritances

Without a consent order, If you sell your property and split the proceeds, share your savings and divide any other things you own at the time you separate, you or your ex-partner can still make a claim indefinitely. A ‘clean break’ in a consent order (if you agree), severs your financial relationship and obligations, protecting you both in the future.

If you divorce without a consent order and decide in the future that you want one, it’s based on your new financial circumstances, not those when you first separated.

You may have changed jobs, be in a new relationship, have built up a significant pension and therefore be in an entirely different financial position than when you divorced. If your ex is in a worse financial position, a judge will need to ensure their needs are met, which might mean sharing some of your new wealth.

Another implication is the role of new partners, children and blended families. In short, think about protecting their inheritance to prevent things from becoming complicated in the future with the introduction of new partners and children.

When should you get a consent order?

Ideally, at the time you’re dividing your money and property so that any agreements and financial arrangements made are legally binding.

You can only get a consent order once your divorce has been started , or issued by the court and once you have received your ‘conditional order’ (previously called the decree nisi).

It’s recommended that you get a consent order before your divorce is finalised , as your rights change on divorce.

Can I divorce without a consent order?

Yes, you can divorce without a consent order, but you will remain financially tied to your ex-partner meaning that you can claim from each other indefinitely.

Can I get a consent order before divorce?

No, you must have started your divorce in order to get a consent order. If you want to document your agreements before divorcing, you can have a separation agreement drawn up to outline your financial arrangements before your consent order.

Can I get a consent order after divorce?

Yes, you can get a consent order after your divorce, however, a judge will be reviewing your consent order in the context of your financial position as it is currently, not when you first separated.

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Comments (2)

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Bev Morris
04.12.2023 21:22

We are at the stage to apply for final order but we have yet to agree and get drawn up document to protect pensions and inheritance and the house

Karl Jesienowski
26.03.2024 7:52

My name is Karl. I live in Australia. My wife Suzy lives in Wales with our two chlidren Danny and Lydia. We are in the final stages of the divorce process and need to progress onto the clean break and final divorce order. She is the applicant but will not fill in the form e or send in the final consent for divorce form to the governmentt even though she has asked me to pay for the process. I am the respondent. However, since the 2nd part of the divorce was completed in April last year and she has not progressed onto the final stage I would like to progress. I want to be as nice about this divorce as possible. I also do not want to spend a lot of money on legal fees. I would like to know the process and get a reasonable quote on the costs for your services. Thank you , Karl