Can a consent order be changed?

There are times when you may find that you need to change the terms of a consent order by agreement.

For example, you have a consent order for the sale of the family home and now in fact you want to transfer it from joint names to one name instead.

Do you need to change the consent order itself or can you just go ahead and transfer the property?

The answer lies in the detail of the order.

Sometimes you will need to completely redo the consent order.

You need to check the detail in the original consent order carefully to decide how to change it.

For example, are there clauses which are conditional upon a sale rather than a transfer?

If there are, you will need to have the order re-drawn and re-submitted to the court.

The procedure is not all that common and the original consent order will be set aside.

In practice this will be done simultaneously with the granting of the new order.

You must both be absolutely agreed on the need to change the consent order and the new terms.

You should employ a solicitor with specialised family law experience to make this sort of application for you.

Why can't the original consent order simply be varied?

Well there are strict rules about what can and cannot be varied and the courts therefore don’t have the discretion to make changes -even where it looks as if this would be straightforward.

For example the amount of a lump sum cannot be changed in a consent order. So, if for some reason you need to change the amount you will need to set aside the original order and file a fresh one.

The same problem arises if you have agreed a pension sharing order but later discover that (perhaps because of the cost of sharing a pension) you would actually prefer to pay a lump sum of money between you.

As it is likely that the court has either made a lump sum order already or dismissed the lump sum application as part of the clean break, you will need to start again.

Procedurally this is something you will need professional help with. There is no court form you can fill in to deal with this.