What is a divorce financial order?

What is a divorce financial order?

A divorce financial order is a document that makes your agreements about how to split your finances legally binding. It usually has a clause in it that ends any future claims you may have against each other in the future. If you are divorcing amicably then your financial order will be called a consent order. If you are asking a judge to decide your finances, then you will have a financial order. A lot of people believe that just by getting divorced this will end any financial relationship they have – but this isn’t true. To be financially free and clear you will need a consent order or financial order.

There are different documents required when applying for a financial order:

  • Consent order

This is the document that says what will happen to your finances. The law does not have a defined formula for dividing assets. To make fair agreements, you must think about what the courts in England & Wales take into consideration: income, earning capacity and property as well as financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities. The starting pointing is a 50/50 split. But if one of you has a greater need, for example, because you are housing the children or earn a lot less, then the split may different. Your consent order may have clauses that say things will happen in the future such as selling the family home once the children have grown up for example. It usually also contains a clean break clause, ending future claims.

  • Statement of Financial Information (Form D81)

This document goes to the court alongside your consent order and is a snapshot of your current finances (immediately before you divorce). Even if you split up a while ago, this form documents what you have immediately prior to the divorce, not at the point of separation. The judge needs to see what you have now, as well as what you want to happen to your finances when you divorce so they can decide whether this is fair under the law. You will both need to disclose your current finances, including your assets, debts, pension values and income. You need to do this even if you are leaving these things as they are.

  • Notice of [intention to proceed with] an application for a financial order (Form A)

This is an administrative form that you will need to complete in order to file your consent order. There is a lot of confusion (even amongst professionals) on how you should complete this form so its best to get advice if you are not sure.

  • Pension Sharing Annex (P1):

If you are sharing a pension you will also need to have a pension sharing annex. This lets the pension company know what percentage of a pension is being shared. If you are leaving your pensions as-is then you won’t need to bother with this document.

  • Provide an explanation for the judge

It’s always helpful to let the judge know how you have come to your agreement and to demonstrate that all the families housing needs are met and that you can each afford to live under the agreements you have made. The older you are, the more concerned the judge will be to see that you have adequate pension provision.

  • Clean break consent order

If you’re divorcing and have no assets to split, then you might get a clean break consent order. The primary reason couples usually get a clean break consent order is to end future claims against each other for things like pensions, inheritance or lottery wins.

If you’re unsure about how to apply for a financial order, please book a call here with a divorce expert (our 15 minutes advice calls are free).

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Pip Wilson Pip Wilson
About the author Pip Wilson is co-founder of amicable. She is an entrepreneur and technology expert who is passionate about using technology to tackle social issues.

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