What is a Financial Order in Divorce?

Financial order in divorce

Divorce or separation is rarely easy or straightforward. But you can often help things from turning nasty if you have the right practical and financial arrangements in place.

One way of doing this is through a Financial Order, a court order setting out the financial position between you and your former spouse or partner. In England and Wales, an agreement of this kind is legally binding. So can be enforced if either party breaches it, and a judge will issue and approve such an order.

You need to apply to the courts to receive a Financial Order for your divorce, and it is recommended that you seek legal advice before you do, so that you are properly informed about which type of order would best suit your own circumstances. Equally, your solicitor will be able to apply to the court on your behalf as well as advising on the best course of action for you.

Different kinds of financial orders in divorce

In truth, it can be rather inaccurate to talk generically about financial orders in divorce, since the reality is that there are various different orders which can apply in these circumstances. Which one best suits you will be wholly dependent on your own situation, and the issues involved in deciding on the appropriate order can be quite complex.

Among the most commonly applied divorce Financial Orders are:

  • Consent orders

This outlines how to divide both your assets and any debts. While some former partners going through a divorce may be able to agree on this themselves, others may need a divorce solicitor, judge or other mediator. And if there is no mutually agreed decision, a judge will have to make one on their behalf. Once there is a settlement in place which is fair to both parties, the judge agrees and issues a consent order. It will contain a ‘clean break clause’ terminating any financial commitment to your former wife or husband.

  • A pension-sharing order

You may have an entitlement to your ex-partner’s pension or pensions. Should that be the case, a pension-sharing order describes how every pot will be split. Entitlement depends on various things, including size of the available pots, your ages, how long you have been married, individual needs plus your future career prospects.

  • Maintenance orders

These establish the amount of spousal maintenance to be paid to the spouse with least money, and the length of time for which this is to continue. Similar factors to those mentioned above come into play here. Some orders include child maintenance issues, while some are issued on an interim basis while the divorce process is ongoing. If ongoing maintenance payments are being asked for, these orders are also called periodical payments orders.

  • Lump-sum orders

These are exactly as their name suggests, an order obliging one party to pay the other a lump sum. Typically, the payer receives something in return, for instance the family home. It’s possible to pay this sum in instalments.

  • Property adjustment orders

These describe what will happen to the family home, including the name in which it will be held, who can live there and how long for. There are different forms of this kind of order, to suit different situations. One example is a Mesher order, which defers the sale of the property until a particular event occurs.

  • Clean-break orders

These terminate any entitlement to making a financial provision claim against an ex-spouse. They’re ideal if you want to cut all financial ties but don’t have any shared assets. Without this kind of order existing, unless they remarry, your ex can still demand more money from you at any time. That’s because English law says that, without such an order in place, a Decree Absolute ends your marriage, but financial obligations to the other party remain indefinitely.

While technically you don’t need a solicitor to submit an order, courts are very specific about what to include and how the order should be set out. If some important piece of information is left out, it may mean another application could be made at a later stage based on something omitted from the original order. We would always recommend seeking legal advice before attempting to resolve financial matters in a divorce, and we can help you find the right lawyer for your needs.

Talk to us

At Hayes Forensics we’re extensively experienced in reviewing and calculating financial arrangements for a wide variety of divorce cases, in conjunction with your legal advisers. We’ll assist you to present your strongest case with great accuracy and, by working with us, we can help you minimise the financial impact of separating from someone whose life you may have shared for decades. Get in touch with us today.

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