Financial matters on divorce

What is a Consent Order and can I get a Clean Break?

The family team at Herrington Carmichael is experienced in dealing with all matters in relation to financial matters following the breakdown of a marriage. We pride ourselves on being highly approachable, sensitive, and supportive during what can be a difficult and emotional time.

When it comes to financial claims, these arise automatically between married couples when divorce proceedings are issued. They are not always pursued at the time of the divorce but always recommend that they are at least considered. We encourage couples to agree terms of financial settlement and wherever possible, to have their settlement made into a legally binding document called a “Consent Order”.

How to agree a Consent Order with your spouse

If possible, do try and sit down with your partner and agree a way forward.

If this is not an option, we would recommend that you try and agree to see a mediator, who will help you both to sit talk through the issues.

Whether or not you opt for either or both of the above options, we would recommend that you also come and see us for an initial advice as to the options available to you, to ensure that your financial best interests are properly considered.

The process of disclosure must always come first. Both of you need to be fully open as to what you own and earn. Once you, and your husband or wife are entirely clear about what is in the “pot”, you can start discussing how to share it.

The pot should be reviewed in specie:

  • Capital
  • Pension
  • Income

Each of the above will need to be considered separately but also as a whole.

If you and your partner can agree what is to become of your assets and income, with or without the assistance of a mediator or ourselves, we can then review your agreement and cross check it against the legal test of “fairness”.

If we consider that your agreement will pass the legal test of fairness – about which we will fully advise you – we can then draft a Consent Order, in the same terms as your agreement, and file it court for the approval of a Judge. Only if the Judge considers it fair, will he/she approve it.

Once approved, the Consent Order will be binding on both of you.

What is a clean break dismissal?

A Consent Order can include provision for the dismissal of your and your spouse’s further financial claims against each other for capital, pension and income. This is called a full and final clean break. This means that whatever the future holds for both parties – perhaps they receive an inheritance or a lottery win – neither can seek further financial redress from the other. This cuts all financial ties which, if retained, might be cause for anxiety.

A clean break income dismissal is not always going to be the right outcome and will not often be appropriate where there are young children and the main carer of the children earns less than the other parent. In these situations, it is rarely fair or appropriate for the main carer’s income claims against the other parent to be dismissed and they may instead need to secure an order that provides for them to receive a monthly payment from their former spouse: known as “periodical payments” or “spousal maintenance”. Such orders are always variable and in certain circumstances can be capitalised such that the monthly payments are replaced with a lump sum. Where this happens, a clean break dismissal can then follow.

We will review all the circumstances of your case and advise on how best to secure a bespoke outcome for you, that addresses how best to fairly redistribute the family capital, pension and income.

Contact Us

Request a video call or phone call with a member of the family team...

    The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

    Divorce & Family Law Team

    • All departments
    • Agricultural Law
    • Brexit
    • Careers
    • Co Co - Employee Share Schemes
    • Co Co - Recovery & Insolvency
    • Co Co - Restructuring
    • Co Co Corporate Governance
    • Co Co Corporate lending
    • Co Co Financial Services
    • Co Co Franchising
    • Co Co GDPR
    • Co Co in-house legal support
    • Co Co International Contracts
    • Co Co M&A's
    • Co Co MBOs & MBIs
    • Co Co Partnership and LLPs
    • Co Co Regulatory, Compliance & Competition
    • Co Co Shareholders Agreements
    • Co Co Terms and Conditions
    • Co Co- Intellectual Property
    • CoCo - Banking and Finance
    • CoCo - New Businsess
    • CoCo Competition Law
    • CoCo Consumer Law
    • CoCo Data Protection - Marketing
    • CoCo Data, IT & Technology
    • Commercial Law
    • Commercial Property
    • Construction
    • Corporate & Commercial
    • Corporate Law
    • Debt Recovery
    • Dispute Resolution
    • Disputes - Business
    • Disputes - Declarations of trust
    • Disputes - Probate and inheritance
    • Disputes - Professional negligence
    • Disputes - Restrictive Covenants
    • Disputes - Shareholders & Partnership
    • Disputes - Tenants in Residential Property
    • Disputes - Wills, trusts & probate disputes
    • Disputes and Small Claims
    • Disputes Construction
    • Disputes with Co-owners
    • Divorce
    • Employee - Termination
    • Employer - Termination
    • Employment
    • Employment - Business protection
    • Employment - Collective consultations
    • Employment - Contracts, services, consultancy
    • Employment - Employee benefits
    • Employment - Employee Procedures
    • Employment - Equality, discrimination and harassment
    • Employment - Family Friendly Rights
    • Employment - GDPR and Data Protection
    • Employment - Post employment obligations
    • Employment - Redundancy & Reorganisation
    • Employment - Settlement Agreements
    • Employment - Tribunal Claims
    • Employment - TUPE
    • Employment - Wages, holiday and sick pay
    • Employment - Workers rights
    • Employment Tribunal claims
    • Estate Administration
    • Expat Legal Services
    • Family Law
    • Financial Services
    • GDPR
    • Help to Buy
    • Immigration law
    • International Legal Services
    • Key Property Contacts
    • Land and Property Disputes
    • Land, development and construction
    • Lasting Powers of Attorney
    • Leasehold
    • Licensing Law
    • Money, Tax and Inheritance
    • New Build Conveyancing
    • Private Wealth and Inheritance
    • Professional Negligence
    • Property Finance
    • Property Law
    • Residential Property
    • Residential Property - Completions
    • Residential Property - Shared Ownership
    • Trainee Solicitor
    • Wills, Trusts & Probate

    Herrington Carmichael has been advising families and businesses for over 175 years. We provide an increasingly specialist legal practice – we offer a wide range of services, beyond that of a traditional private client firm to meet the demands of our UK and international clients.

    Related Articles

    Alternative Dispute Resolution Options (ADR)

    More than ever, it is worth considering how to resolve financial disputes, arising on relationship breakdown, out of court.

    Family business divorce – Will we need to sell the golden goose?

    If you have decided to get divorced and you have interest in a company you may be concerned about what might happen to the golden goose.

    Separated Parents: Navigating the Christmas period

    Now is the time to try and agree how your children will share their time between their parents and extended families over the holiday period.

    Record-breaking divorce?

    The High Court in London is set to hear what could be the highest value divorce case the English courts have ever seen.

    To blame or not to blame…

    The September 2017 issue of our newsletter included an article tackling the topic of ‘no-fault’ divorces following the Court of Appeal’s decision in the case Owens v Owens.

    Divorce and Finances: Will I have to share my inheritance?

    Many clients contemplating divorce ask whether they will have to share a current or future inheritance. The answer is that it depends.

    My partner and I are splitting up and we have kids- where do I stand?

    For many separating couples with children, the real worry is the children. Who will they live with?

    Will pre-nuptial housing take off?

    In 2016, a Dutch design and engineering firm, Studio OBA, has revealed its design of a floating house which can divide into two parts if a couple breaks up

    Good Divorce Week 2022 at a time of delay and backlogs

    The leading organisation for family solicitors, Resolution, has nominated 28th November to 2nd December 2022 as this year’s Good Divorce Week.

    Divorce: Compensation for a career cut short?

    A mother was recently awarded £400,000.00 on top of her equal share of the matrimonial assets to ‘compensate’ her for giving…

    Latest news & insights

    Award winning legal advice

    Herrington Carmichael offers legal advice to UK and International businesses as well as individuals and families. Rated as a ‘Leading Firm 2024’ by the legal directory Legal 500 and listed in The Times ‘Best Law Firms 2023 & 2024’. Herrington Carmichael has offices in London, Farnborough, Reading, and Ascot.

    +44 (0)1276 686 222


    Brennan House, Farnborough Aerospace Centre Business Park, Farnborough, GU14 6XR

    Reading (Appointment only)
    The Abbey, Abbey Gardens, Abbey Street, Reading RG1 3BA

    Ascot (Appointment only)
    102, Berkshire House, 39-51 High Street, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7HY

    London (Appointment only)
    60 St Martins Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4JS

    Privacy Policy   |   Legal Notices, T&Cs, Complaints Resolution   |   Cookies  |   Client Feedback   |  Diversity Data



    Our Services

    Corporate Lawyers
    Commercial Lawyers
    Commercial Property Lawyers
    Conveyancing Solicitors
    Dispute Resolution Lawyers
    Divorce & Family Lawyers
    Employment Lawyers
    Immigration Law Services
    Private Wealth & Inheritance Lawyers
    Startups & New Business Lawyers

    Pay Online >

    Please be aware that we have no plans to change our bank details. If you receive any indication that any of our bank details have changed please contact us before sending us any funds. We take no responsibility for monies you transfer into the wrong bank account.

    © 2024 Herrington Carmichael LLP. Registered in England and Wales company number OC322293.

    Herrington Carmichael LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with registration number 446245.