Solicitors Firm

Clean Break Orders in Ancillary Relief

Did you know that irrespective of when you divorced, without a Clean Break Order in place, your ex spouse can make a claim on your assets?

When you divorce, your right to make a claim against your ex for money or property continues to exist, even after the divorce has been finalised. A divorce ends the contract of marriage but does not prevent your ex spouse from asking the Court to make an Order for you to pay them money in the future. To take a simple example, if you were to win the lottery years after your divorce, without a Clean Break Order, your ex spouse can still claim a share of your winnings. Although the chances of winning the lottery are slim, it is more likely you may have inherited some money from deceased parents or relatives or perhaps your business or company has become particularly successful after your divorce. Few people realise the dangers of divorcing without a Clean Break Order and when they do realise, it is usually too late!

A Clean Break Order is a legal document that settles all financial relations between you and your ex spouse. No other form of agreement is a validly binding agreement. Therefore even a separation agreement or a ‘receipt’ signed by your ex spouse will not suffice.

This legally binding document is referred to as a Clean Break Order. In it you ask the Court by way of a Consent Order to formally dismiss the right that you and your ex spouse have to ask for more money from each other in the future. You cannot legally enforce the terms of any agreement without a Clean Break Order. We recently represented a client who had paid their ex spouse £190,000 at the time of the divorce in an informal agreement written together at home. That did not stop the ex spouse from bringing an Ancillary Relief claim against our client 5 years later when our client’s business had flourished.

Unfortunately, many people do not consider their situation to be complicated enough to warrant a Court Order so sort out matters informally between themselves. Some later find themselves in the unwelcome position of having to deal with ‘fresh’ claims some years after divorce. A Clean Break Order can often be negotiated on your behalf at very little cost and where the parties are agreeable, we can even do this for you for a fixed fee of £800 plus VAT.

Coming to an agreement

The most constructive and cost effective way to reach a financial agreement with your ex spouse is always to try to agree as much as possible between yourselves and we will assist you in doing this. However it is imperative that, once you have reached your agreement with your ex spouse, you take legal advice to ensure that agreement is turned into a Clean Break Order that binds both of you.

The only way to ensure that you are protected and your ex doesn’t get a ‘second bite of the cherry’ is for you both to sign a straightforward Clean Break Order formally dismissing the claims you have against each other relating to your marriage and submit it for the Court to approve. .

We can assist you in this regard, even if you have already obtained your divorce and thought that ‘it was all over’. To arrange a consultation simply call us on 020 8401 7352 to take advantage of this or email us your query at

The procedure is very straightforward and does in most circumstances will not even require you to attend court. We will do all the work on your behalf, leaving you to get on with your life.

If the claim has not been dismissed, it can be revived at any time! Always ensure that there is a financial ‘Clean Break’ between you and your ex with a Clean Break Order.

For advice on Clean Break Orders contact us on 020 8401 7352 to book a consultation.

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