Consent orders and Clean Break Orders

Where in many aspects a divorce may be considered a new start, there are still a number of issues that must be considered before this can truly happen.

Money can pose issues at any stage of a marriage. The issue of money becomes more difficult when it comes to divorce proceedings, even many years after your marriage has ended.

In England and Wales, an Absolute Decree brings a marriage to a legal end but it does not sever the financial commitment. That means, despite being legally divorced, your ex-spouse may still be able to make a claim on your money or assets in the future.

That’s why many choose to get either a consent order or a clean break order; making sure everyone knows where they stand financially.

Clean break divorce

A clean break order is used for couples getting a divorce, or who are already divorced, wishing to officially cut their financial ties to one another. This can be used to confirm there are no shared assets to be divided between the two and means neither one can make a financial claim against the other in the future.

In a typical clean break, any property you own together would be sold and the pensions shared so each party gets their fair share.

Why would someone choose a clean break?

Many assume that, once divorced, what’s theirs is theirs. However, this is often not the case, and some find out the hard way.

Mr Page had been divorced from his wife for more than 10 years, and had even remarried, when he won £56m in the Euro Millions draw.

During his divorce from the former Mrs Page, they decided to not get a clean break financial order along with their divorce as the couple did not have much money at the time.

Mr Page’s ex-wife did not remarry and, when he won the jackpot on the lottery, she made a claim for a share of the pay-out. With no clean break order in place, he was forced to settle the case to avoid an even bigger award going to her – handing over £2m of his winnings to his ex-wife.

Whilst this an extreme case, this shows why finalising finances in a divorce is vital in protecting your future, even if you feel you don’t need to right now.

Consent order for divorce

A consent order essentially the same as a clean break but is used for couples who have financial assets to divide. It lists the couple’s assets and states how they will be shared out. It also includes a section which stops either spouse from making a financial claim against the other in the future. 

Divorce financial settlement

Agreeing on finances, either with your ex-partner alone or by using a family solicitors, is a tough but essential part of a divorce. The main ways you can come to an agreed financial divorce settlement include:

⦁    A prenuptial agreement
Whilst it may not be something you want to think about before marriage, agreeing on what will happen to savings and assets in the event of a divorce can save a lot of time, money, and bitterness later down the line should things not work out as planned.

Although not legally binding, these are often used in courts to reach a final judgement.

⦁    Mediation
If a prenuptial agreement was not made at the start of the marriage, reaching an arrangement that works for everyone during divorce proceedings can be a little harder.

Couples may choose to divide their assets between themselves with the help of a divorce lawyer to ensure the end result is fair. Whilst this can still be a stressful and lengthy process, many prefer find mediation over taking their case to court.

⦁    Court
Mediation is not always successful, making a court case unavoidable. Courts will take certain factors into account when forming their judgement, including any financially-dependent children and the individual earning potential of each partner.

If either is found to be at a significant financial advantage to the other, the courts may make them pay spousal maintenance, either for a set number of years to allow them time to become financially independent or for the rest of their lives.


To make a clean break or divorce consent order legally binding, it must be drafted by a solicitor and approved by a court.

If you’d like to apply for either, or need professional mediation to divide your assets with a spouse, call 03330096275 to speak in confidence with one of the UK’s leading family law firms, Ashmans Solicitors.

You can also use our free online enquiry form or email us at and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


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