Clean break order or standard consent order?

consent order confusing
Are consent orders just plain confusing?

Clean break order or standard consent order – all you need to know (really).

Jargon is confusing. Legal jargon is probably the worst sort of jargon because we actually need to understand it to go about our daily lives. So, this page is dedicated to explaining what a clean break order is; what a standard consent order is and how to tell which one you need.

What is a clean break order or clean break consent order?

A clean break order is actually just a clause in a consent order. It then becomes known as a clean break consent order.

A clean break consent order dismisses rights to make certain types of claims again in the future.

What claims does a clean break order dismiss (prevent in the future)?

You normally have the right to make some claims against your spouse or civil partner when you have been married or in a civil partnership.

Typically, these claims are for maintenance, property adjustment, lumps sums of money and pension sharing. 

Why you might want a clean break order.

Those rights to make a claim don’t end when the marriage or civil partnership ends.

The only way to absolutely bring those rights to an end is by way of a clean break order.

Most people enter into an agreement to end the right to bring claims against each other, when their marriage ends.

But, for that agreement to be legally binding, it has to be signed by a judge as well. 

It is this process that is known as applying for a clean break order, or a clean break consent order. 

There is more than one type of clean break.

Just to make things more confusing, there is more than one type of clean break.

Full clean break

A full clean break consent order dismisses (in other words, prevents future applications for)

  • future maintenance claims; and 
  • future capital claims 

Capital only clean break

A capital only clean break order:

  • only dismisses future capital claims; and
  • is used where there will be ongoing spousal maintenance.

Clean break after death

The court has the power to make an order to prevent claims against the estate of a dead spouse.

This is sometimes referred to as a clean break on death.

It can also be included in the order for just one of you if there is ongoing maintenance.

What is a standard consent order?

A standard consent order is a phrase used to describe a normal consent order. These usually contain additional standard clauses to those just providing for a clean break between you.

For example a typical standard consent order will include details of what is to happen to a property.

  • Is it to be sold?
  • Who is to deal with the estate agents?
  • How much will each party receive from the proceeds of sale?

These provisions need to be drafted according to your unique circumstances.

You may think you only need the clean break clauses if you had no joint assets at all during the marriage( or you have already divided them as part of a separation agreement).

But, in the majority of cases, you will still need to recite in the accompanying documents how that has been done, so that the judge has sufficient information to make a decision as to whether your agreement is fair.

Insufficient information is the main reason consent order agreements are rejected the first time they are submitted.

We have many years experience working in the Family Court and we include in our drafting as much detail as we think is necessary to have a consent order approved.

This is a specialist area and that is why the judiciary, the court service and the government all recommend that you take legal advice from a specialist solicitor or barrister before submitting a consent order and do not attempt to do it yourself.

Does a standard consent order cost more than a simple clean break consent order?

All our consent order services include the form A, the D81 and the draft order itself.

But not all consent orders are the same. 

We don’t believe you should pay the same fee for a simple order as you would for a complex one.

A single average fee would be higher for many people than one calculated according to how much work actually needs to go into preparing your documents.

And we don’t think that’s fair.

You don’t expect to pay the electricity bill for a four bedroomed house when you live in a one bedroom flat.

So, you shouldn’t be paying the same fee for your simple consent order as someone else is for a more complicated one.

Fixed fees should mean fixed for you so that you know exactly how much you are going to pay.

It shouldn’t mean one price fits all.

Can you give me a fixed fee for a consent order?

Yes we do offer a fixed fee a consent order.

We ask you to fill out our questionnaire.

When you send that back to us, we assess whether your case is suitable for our consent order service before providing you with a quote and a terms of engagement to sign if you want to proceed.

Our quote is based on your circumstances and how much work is needed to prepare your personal documents.

It is your own fixed fee.

What about routine letters and phone calls?

There is no charge for routine correspondence and communication in connection with taking your details and the preparation of the documents.

I need advice on the terms of my consent order.

You don’t necessarily need to have a consultation, if you are confident that you understand the terms of your consent order.

We have explanatory notes to help you understand the legal jargon.

But we recommend that you consider whether it might be beneficial to go over the terms of agreement before it is drafted, or afterwards, to make sure that you understand it completely.

For over 20 years, going to court was a normal part of everyday working life for Nicola Williams. You learn a lot about how to avoid problems in the first place, when you are trying to help people resolve them.

Nicola is able to put that wealth of experience of conflict resolution to good use, advising people on the most effective ways to divide their finances in a non-contentious way. 

If you would like a consultation in addition to the preparation of documents, please let us know.

Details of our charges for consultations are set out on our consultations page here.