Info & Advice

Do I need a financial order if we don’t have much money or assets?

Yes, in most cases, you do. But let’s start at the beginning.

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A financial order is an important legal document concerning the monetary aspects of your divorce. Also known as ‘consent orders’, these legally binding documents set down in writing the details of the financial settlement agreed with your estranged spouse. Typically, settlements include provisions for property, pensions pots, maintenance, child support and debts.

The importance of financial orders

Contrary to popular belief, financial settlements are distinct from the process of formally ending your marriage. The latter is a relatively simple, bureaucratic affair, involving a declaration that your marriage has broken down and the subsequent submission of a series of forms at set intervals, until a final order of divorce is issued and the marriage comes to a legal end.

But a final order of divorce on its own will not protect you from future claims by your former spouse. If your financial situation changes in the future, without a financial order, your ex could return and claim a sizeable share of your resources – even decades later. This has happened on multiple occasions, with lottery winners, inheritance beneficiaries and successful businessmen all ordered to pay former spouses they divorced years previously.

Making a clean break

This all means that a consent order is vital even if you few assets at the time of the divorce. Consent orders are legally binding, and clearly define any ongoing financial links you and your former spouse may have (for example, maintenance or child support payments).

In most cases, a simple clean break order will be the most appropriate choice for couples who have no meaningful assets at the time of their separation. These completely end all financial links between the former spouses, preventing out-of-the-blue claims years after the divorce.

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