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Does the final order in a divorce sever your financial ties?

You do have the capability to sever all those financial obligations remaining after a divorce

Divorce, living together and family issues

Within divorce/dissolution proceedings the final stage is to apply to court for a final order, previously known as the decree absolute in divorce proceedings. Once this is made, you are no longer legally married or in a civil partnership and both parties are free to marry again or enter another civil partnership. However, the final order does not end the financial ties between former spouses/partners and therefore an ex-spouse/partner could make a financial claim against the other in the future, even many years later. It is imperative that people deal with any financial obligations as well, during this stage.


A Clean Break Order: This is a type of financial order that is issued following a divorce or dissolution. A clean break order ensures that all the financial ties between ex-spouses/partners are severed after your divorce or dissolution. Once a clean break order has been approved by the court, it means that no claim can be made on a person’s assets in the future, and they cannot make a claim against their former partner’s assets either. This includes all capital and property owned as well as protecting income and pensions from further claims as well as any future inheritances or windfalls, such as a lottery win. There is specific wording required within a financial order, which must be signed by both parties and then approved by a court, to achieve a clean break.


Limitations of a Clean Break Order: Where parties have an ongoing financial obligation to the other, it may not be able to achieve a clean break order. For example, if after a long marriage there is a considerable discrepancy in incomes, then the court could consider making a spousal maintenance order. The court could also defer a clean break on capital and inheritance as well, particularly if there is a maintenance order in place. It is important to note the court needs only to consider if a clean break is suitable in the circumstances. It is under no obligation to make one.


Consent orders: A clean break order can form part of a consent order. A financial consent order is used when parties have come to an agreement about their finances after divorce/dissolution. It formally records the financial agreement and can be used to apply to court to enforce the agreed terms if one party fails to keep to the agreement. The agreement could relate to property, pensions, income, child maintenance or all these things. The consent order can include the clean break clause and in that instance the consent order would then also be a clean break order.


Here are some typical examples of when an ex-partner could still claim money after a divorce/dissolution without a formal financial settlement:

·        Separating when there were no assets but divorcing years later when there were

·        Where one person receives an inheritance

·        Where on person receives a windfall, such as a lottery win

·        Separating amicably but later parties fall out

·        Remarrying using money saved during previous marriage

Your divorce or dissolution only deals with ending the marriage/civil partnership, not the financial obligations. It’s extremely important that as well as ending the marriage/partnership, you deal with any financial obligations as well. You do have the capability to sever all those financial obligations remaining after a divorce or dissolution by drawing up a consent order, either by agreement of the two parties or following court proceedings. Solicitors can assist with all aspects of resolving financial issues, from preparing the consent order, helping to negotiate the terms of financial settlement or to represent a person within contested financial remedy proceedings.


If you would like legal advice in relation to any aspect of divorce or dissolution then you can search for a solicitor who specialises in family law without providing any of your personal data at and just select “Divorce, living together and family issues” on the “Services offered” sidebar menu. Alternatively you might want to read “How to find and choose a divorce lawyer” or “Your first appointment with your divorce Lawyer”. You might also be interested to learn about the new changes that affect divorce by reading “2022 brings significant change to divorce law” or “No fault divorce – the changes explained”.