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What is a Consent Order

updated 10 May 2024

Marriage creates financial obligations towards one another. These obligations don’t end just because you get a divorce. A divorce only ends the marriage contract. It doesn’t deal with finances or splitting assets. The finances following divorce are a separate matter and these are called Financial Remedy proceedings.

Many Financial Remedy claims go to court. Lots of these are settled through negotiation. If you have an excellent team of lawyers, they will often be able to negotiate a settlement for you, without your case going all the way to a trial. An agreement reached through negotiations is written up and called a ‘Consent Order’.

No agreement between divorcing couples is valid, unless it is in the form of a Consent Order, approved by a court.

A consent order is a legal document issued by a court. It is basically a court order, but the reason it is called a Consent Order, is that it is a court order that the parties agreed between themselves. In other words, they consented to it.

A Consent Order details how joint assets are to be divided following a divorce. Consent Orders cover all finances including money, property, investments, pensions and savings. Consent Orders can also include details of spousal maintenance and child maintenance payments from one spouse to the other.

A properly written Consent Order uses some legal language to set out in detail not just the agreement that the divorcing couple have reached, but also the reasons. These reasons, are called Recitals. In addition, spouses can use consent orders to make official legally enforceable ‘promises’ to do certain things. These are called ‘Undertakings’. A breach of an Undertaking can result in being in ‘contempt of court’ which means you can be fined and even go to prison.

Once a Consent Order is approved by a court, it has the same power as a court order. In other words, it is generally final.

It is crucial that Consent Orders are drafted properly by an expert. A lot of the work we receive is from clients who have badly drafted Consent Orders prepared by poorly qualified advisors which lead to bigger problems down the road.

If you already have a Consent Order and are considering appealing your Consent Order or challenging it – contact us – we have exceptional experience in challenging and setting aside badly drafted or unfair consent orders.

If you have questions about your own personal circumstances, or you want a Consent Order, you should contact us or email us. We are expert at negotiating the absolute best deal – for our clients!