Consent Order

Consent order

This page was last updated on 1 July 2021

Consent Order In 2021

There is a lot to consider during a divorce. If you and your former partner have come to a financial agreement about what you want to happen with your money and assets, this can be written up into a consent order.  While this may seem like an unnecessary expense, this document is highly important in making your agreement legally binding.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

You can listen to an audio recording of this page below.

What is a consent order?

Consent orders record what a divorcing couple have agreed to do about their finances. Having a formal agreement means that your former partner cannot make claims of you further down the line, long after your marriage has ended. 

What goes into a consent order?

The document sets out what should be done with all of your assets. This includes your money, property, debts, investments and pensions. It may also include spousal maintenance and child maintenance.

When do you get a consent order?

You request a consent order after the Decree Nisi stage of proceedings. It usually takes the court 12 weeks to get to Decree Nisi, though this will vary in different parts of the UK. However, if possible, it is our advice that you look into this as soon as you initiate divorce proceedings to save time.

Here is a useful video that explains what a consent order i

When is the final point I can apply for a consent order?

If you wait until decree absolute, you can still get a consent order divorce, but there can be implications. This is because you will no longer be spouses or civil partners, so you might not be entitled to have trust funds or pension funds transferred to you. 

What does a consent order do?

A financial order by consent means that you and your former partner can not apply to the court to get more money from each other in the future. Hence, some solicitors call them clean break consent order

Can a financial consent order cover our agreements about our children?

In the UK, the children stage and the financial stage are kept separate in divorce proceedings. You can draft a different type of consent order in a C100 form for your children, covering where they will live, how they will spend time with their parents, and how they will have contact. 

This part of the divorce process is completely separate to the financial part. 

court consent order

Can me and my former partner not just make an agreement between yourself.

You can do this, but it is risky as you can’t be sure the other party will not apply to change what you have agreed together later. You cannot guarantee your relationship with your ex will remain amicable, or there might be circumstances outside both of your control, like one of you loses your job or becomes ill. 

Further, you cannot agree to transfer pensions to another person without a court order. 

What is meant by a clean break?

A clean break means that both parties can’t claim entitlement to each other’s finances anymore, including their estates after they die.

This means both parties are no longer dependent on each other and can move on with their lives and put their marriage behind them. You can put clean break clauses into your consent order so you both cannot make any more claims. 

What are the main components of a financial consent order?

A court consent order has three parts:

  • Recitals, which is the agreement the parties have made
  • Undertakings, which are the commitment both parties make to the court not to break their agreement
  • Orders, which are from the court, and may include an agreement about property and finances

"Consent orders record what a divorcing couple have agreed to do about their finances. Having a formal agreement means that your former partner cannot make claims off you further down the line, long after your marriage has ended. "

What can be covered by a consent order?

Your consent order can cover all aspects of the agreement you and your ex have made. This incudes:

  • What you want to happen to the family home, including if the ownership will be passed onto one of you, or if you want it to be sold and the money divided
  • Who gets what of your assets, savings, income from investments and business assets
  • What you are doing about your debts, including credit cards
  • What will happen with all of your personal possessions you share
  • The plans for your pension schemes
  • Child maintenance
  • Spousal maintenance, and if so, how long you have to pay this for
  • Other joint expenses, like life insurance
  • An agreement that if either party dies, the other will not to claim as a financial dependant from their estate
consent order cost

How do I start trying to get a consent order?

In the UK, the process normally starts with a draft consent order. At this point, you can make negotiations and possibly use a mediation service. The judge will then consider if the order is fair to both parties, and if not they can reject it. If they approve the order, it becomes legally binding. 

How long does a consent order take?

It depends on the court, as some take longer than others to process the documents. In general, you can expect the court to take 6-10 weeks to approve the order.

How much does a consent order cost?

You can use a law firm or an online divorce service to write up the necessary documents and fill out the clean break order form d81. This service can cost anywhere from £300 to £2000. It is recommended that you get a few different quotes before settling on a solicitors service. 

Is there a court fee?

When you file the draft order at court, you have to pay a court fee, which is currently £50. You also have to complete the form ‘statement of information’ which sets out each party’s financial information. This can be done any time after Decree Nisi is granted.

clean break consent order

Can I apply for a consent order myself?

You can, but consent orders require technical legal language in how they are drafted. The risk is that if you have any errors, the order might not be legally binding. A professional service can make sure the documents are drafted correctly. 

Do I need solicitors to make a consent order?

You do not need legal advice to write the document, however it is a good idea. Solicitors can give you advice on your options, and use precedents to make sure that the order will reflect what each party wants. You should try and get legal advice at an early stage. 

Is a consent order necessary?

If you do not have an enforceable order, your ex partner can reconsider what they want at any point. For example, if you had large lottery wins, your ex might make a claim, even long after your marriage ended. While this is unlikely, you could get a better job or receive an inheritance. A clean break means you can both move on and more safely plan your finances. 

financial consent orders

What are the main merits of a consent order?

There are multiple reasons to get an order, including:

  • You can enforce the order later on. This is important as it means you know how much money you are entitled to, so if the other party does not make a payment and you cannot pay your rent on your property, you can take them to court. This is especially important if one party owns your property in a sole name, as without an order, they could sell the property without your consent.
  • You can end the divorce process and get a clean break.
  • You get financial certainty, which alleviates pressure in an already stressful time. 
  • It can prevent having to go to court in future, which is expensive and can be traumatic for any children.

Can you enforce consent orders?

If the other party breaches the terms of the order, the other person can go to court to ask that the order is enforced. 

If the judge decides the person has breached the order, they can demand the person complies, and will make them pay the court costs. If there is good reason the person has not complied with the order, for example if they have not made payments because they have lost their job and cannot afford it, the court may put this in a new order. 

When does the consent order become enforceable?

The agreement is enforceable once it is approved by the court. After this point, either party can return to court if the other does not comply with the order, including before decree absolute. 

Can you change a consent order?

The point in financial consent orders is that both of you cannot change your minds. There is an exception if there has been fraud, misrepresentation or a ‘barder event.’

consent order form

What is a barder event?

A barder event means the court has discretion to grant leave to appeal after a consent order is made if a new event invalidates the purpose of the original order. 

The event itself has to have been quite soon after the order was approved. This is very rare, and can include the death of a party, changes in the law, remarriage and the value of assets changing substantially. 

What is the difference between a consent order and a financial order?

Consent orders are types of financial order made by agreeing between the two parties. There are more types of financial order the court can make even if the parties do not make their own arrangements.

Does a consent order affect tax?

When you sell or transfer your assets, there are tax consequences, especially capital gains tax. It is generally a good idea to use a lawyer to ensure you follow the law and are not hit with an unexpected bill. 

How long is a consent order valid?

A consent order can be binding indefinitely. However, you can draft the order so that parts of the arrangement come to an end after certain trigger events, like selling your house. 

Is it necessary to attend court to get a divorce consent order?

Normally you submit the order to the court and they can consider it without needing to attend. The court might have queries for you, but these will probably be by letter.

What do I need to get together to apply for a consent order?

Both parties have to fill out Form E. They must complete the Statement of Property and Income (Statement of Information for a consent order), which includes:

  • Current standard of living, financial contribution, and your conduct towards the other party
  • Financial need
  • Your means, including your pensions and your income
  • Particulars of both parties and any children
  • Any other relevant circumstances

It is vital you make full and frank disclosure, and have gathered all the relevant information first. 

How will the family court decide whether or not to give you a consent order?

The judge will weigh up whether the agreement gives a fair and reasonable provision for both you and your ex spouse. They will consider all of the circumstances, including the statement of information. 

What powers does the court have when it comes to divorce arrangements?

A judge can make a variety of financial orders, including:

  • A lump sum payment
  • Dividing up your savings and pensions
  • Selling your home, or transferring property into another name
  • Splitting up your possessions
  • What will happen with your debts
  • Spousal maintenance payments
  • Child maintenance payments

Can a judge change a consent order?

A consent order can be changed if it is in the best interests of you and your ex spouse. If this is the case, you may need to get the consent order redrawn and resubmitted to the court. 

What will happen next after the consent order is approved?

The court will send both parties the order. After service of the documents, both parties have to comply with the terms themselves, and the court is not responsible for ensuring this. You may need legal advice from experts on how best to do this, including paying maintenance, dealing with your mortgage lender and selling property.

What will happen if the court declines the consent order form?

The judge can reject the consent order if they determine it to be unfair or unreasonable. You can reply to the judge by writing them a letter giving them more information about your financial agreement.

If this does not make a difference, there might be a court hearing to make sure both of you understand what you are doing and have not been coerced. If it is still not approved, you should reconsider the order before going back to the judge.

Would you like some help with a consent order?

Slater and Gordon’s experienced divorce and family lawyers have the empathy and the expertise you need.

Slater and Gordon are regarded as the UK’s leading divorce and family law solicitors.  They will be able to help you.

You can contact Slater & Gordon in one of 2 ways:

  • Option 1 – Call directly on 0333 567 1610 
  • Option 2 – Leave your contact details and Slater and Gordon get in touch with you

You can call directly between Monday and Friday 9am – 5pm on

Tel: 0333 567 1610 

You can arrange a call back from a divorce and family law specialist.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a consent order?

Consent orders record what a divorcing couple have agreed to do about their finances. Having a formal agreement means that your former partner cannot make claims of you further down the line, long after your marriage has ended. 

What goes into a consent order?

The document sets out what should be done with all of your assets. This includes your money, property, debts, investments and pensions. It may also include spousal maintenance and child maintenance.

When do you get a consent order?

You request a consent order after the Decree Nisi stage of proceedings. It usually takes the court 12 weeks to get to Decree Nisi, though this will vary in different parts of the UK. However, if possible, it is our advice that you look into this as soon as you initiate divorce proceedings to save time.

What does a consent order do?

A financial order by consent means that you and your former partner can not apply to the court to get more money from each other in the future. Hence, some solicitors call them clean break consent order. 

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