Consent Orders

Consent Orders

It may be a common assumption that financial remedy proceedings only take place when parties are in dispute as to the division of matrimonial assets. However, in some instances, a scenario may arise whereby parties have provisionally agreed the division of their matrimonial finances prior to seeking legal advice.

If you and your former partner have come to an agreement as to the division of your assets, or have reached a provisional agreement as to the assets that should be reflected within the agreement, our experienced team of solicitors at FisherWright will be able to assist you in drafting an agreement in the form of a Consent Order, for the approval of the Court.  Our solicitors will also be able to advise you as to whether the terms agreed between parties are indeed in your best interests, fair and ensure the best possible outcome considering the assets involved.

Negotiation through solicitors

If you have not yet agreed the division of matrimonial assets, but wish to achieve an amicable settlement in respect of your finances, our dedicated team of solicitors will be able to negotiate with your former partner or their legal advisors on your behalf to reach a financial settlement, by way of discussions and correspondences on a ‘Without Prejudice’ basis.

We will strive to achieve the best possible settlement on your behalf and ensure that you have full disclosure of your former partner’s finances and that your interests remain protected at all costs. Our team will assess the matter, to determine whether negotiation would be most appropriate taking into account your circumstances, to ensure that the matter remains cost effective. Should our solicitors be of the view that negotiations are futile due to the position of both parties, we will advise you as to the best possible way forward.

What assets can be included within the Consent Order?

A ‘Consent Order’ can outline the division of a broad range of assets, which can include properties, bank accounts, investments, pensions and personal possessions such as a vehicle.

You must ensure that the Consent Order only includes terms provisions the Court would have the power to Order. This can include provisions for the payment of a Lump Sum, an Order for the sale of the property and also spousal maintenance (periodical payments).

For further advice as to whether your agreement meets the relevant Criteria please contact FisherWright solicitors.

What is a Consent Order ?

A ‘Consent Order’ is a formal document which outlines the financial agreement, between you and your former spouse/ partner. The content of the Order will be drafted into the body of a Court Order. At FisherWright, our solicitors will be able to draft the terms of the Order, submit the same to Court for approval.

Do I really need a Consent Order?

If you and your spouse have come to an agreement as to your matrimonial finances should be divided. In order for the agreement to become legally binding, and constitute a full settlement of all financial claims aside from as specified within the Consent Order it will be necessary for a Consent Order to be drafted and filed with the Court for submission. Once the Court has considered and approved the Consent Order, the Court will ‘seal’ place the Court stamp on the Order. The approved Consent Order will then prevent your spouse from making further claims in respect of your matrimonial finances in the future.

What will I need to file with the Consent Order?

In addition to the Consent Order you will be required to file a form with the Court, which contains a comprehensive outline of the assets held by both parties. The purpose of this form will be to set out each parties financial circumstances which the Court will consider when analysing the terms of the Consent Order for approval.

Are Consent Orders legally binding?

A Consent Order will be both legally binding and enforceable once the Order has been ‘sealed’ by the Court, by placing a Court Stamp. Following the Consent Order, both parties will be bound to the terms of the Consent Order and any other claims for financial remedies will subsequently be dismissed, except for as agreed within the Order.

The Court’s role

When the draft Consent Order and Financial Information form is provided to the Court for approval, the Court will consider the terms of the Consent Order and the financial provisions outlined therein. In family law, the starting point for the division will be that assets should be divided equally and fairly between parties and the Court will need to be satisfied that the agreement is fair and there is not a large disparity between both parties. If the Court is not satisfied that an agreement has been made fairly, they could  request further information or in extreme circumstances refuse to approve the Order. It is to be noted that in circumstances where there is a slight disparity the terms of the agreement, providing that the Court is aware that both parties have had comprehensive and independent legal advice, it is likely that the agreement being approved.

At FisherWright solicitors, our experienced team of solicitors are highly competent in drafting Consent Orders and will ensure that the terms of the agreement are drafted fairly to ensure the best chances of the consent Order being approved.

Can a Consent Order be varied once sealed by the Court

Whether an Consent Order can be varied, depends on the type of agreement that has been made. Whilst it will not be possible for Orders such as a Property Adjustment Order or payment of a Lump Sum be amended, it will be possible for an Order for periodical payment or spousal maintenance, an Order for sale to be varied. If both you and your former spouse ae in agreement that you wish to amend or discharge a certain part of the Order, or you yourself wish for the provisions of a Consent Order to be varied, you may be able to make an application to the Court for the variation of the existing Order.

In considering whether an application for variation should be granted the Court will consider all circumstances of the matter, this includes the interests of any children that you my have or the changes that have occurred since the date that the original Order was granted.

Procedure for Consent Order

Step 1

Taking your instructions, voluntary disclosure and drafting the Order

Step 2

Completing a form to outline the financial circumstances of both parties

Step 3

Filing the Consent Order and relevant financial information form to the Court for approval

Step 4

Consent Order approved.