Consent order factsheet

What is a consent order?

A consent order is any court order made with the agreement of the parties in the court proceedings.

In divorce proceedings, a consent order is usually a type of financial order. It is made at the end of your divorce.

A clean break, (or clean break order), a standard consent order or a financial order by consent are all possible types of consent order.

How do we agree what happens to our money and property?

If you can’t sort it out between you, a mediation service or a solicitor can help you agree.

A solicitor can explain your legal rights and entitlements as well as the court process. 

A mediator can speak to both of you together.

Solicitors and mediators have different skills. Both can be very helpful.

A solicitor mediator can give you good quality legal information in a non-adversarial way.

When is the right time to apply for a consent order?

The government website tells you that you need a consent order before you apply for your decree absolute.

You should try to agree how to divide your assets before or during the divorce process. Then you need ask the court to make this into a legally binding consent order at the end of the divorce.

It is better to deal with this before the final decree of divorce. But you can apply for a consent order at a later date unless you have remarried.

Deadlines for applying for a consent order

refused consent order
Consent orders are rejected when time limits are missed.

Decree nisi

You absolutely have to have a decree nisi before the court can make a final consent order. 

There is no point sending the application in before you have a date for the decree nisi. The court or divorce centre is likely to send it back because they can’t deal with it before a decree nisi has been pronounced.

The court has no power to make a final financial order, even by agreement, before there is a decree nisi.


Almost all applications for a financial order are impossible after you have remarried.

You might be thinking that you will never get married again, but people do. And they forget that they haven’t dealt with the division of property or pensions.

Then one day they realise that they need a pension sharing order or a property adjustment order. But it’s impossible to apply because they have remarried in the meantime.

You can avoid this problem by ticking the boxes in the petition itself. This confirms that one day you intend to proceed with an application for a financial order.

You aren’t asking the court to do anything right away, But it avoids the problem of the “remarriage trap”.

You can read more about those tickboxes and why we recommend that you tick them if you are planning to remarry, here.

If you haven’t ticked those boxes, don’t panic. You can still apply for a financial order just as long as you haven’t remarried.

Decree absolute?

It’s usually a good idea to apply for your decree absolute after sending your consent order application to court.

But you can still apply after decree absolute unless you have remarried (even though the government website says that you can’t).

There are deadlines, but decree absolute isn’t one of them.

Do you have to go to court for a consent order?

The court does not routinely list a court hearing to deal with a consent order.

The District Judge needs enough information to decide whether the terms of your agreement are fair. You don’t need to be there, if there is enough information in the forms.

There are, however, occasions when you will need to attend court. 

For example, if you haven’t told the court enough about how you came to the agreement; or why you haven’t divided assets equally.

It helps to know what information the District Judge is looking for to be able to assess whether your agreement is fair or not.

If a solicitor fills in your D81 for you, this will help ensure that your consent order is approved first time. But in all cases, that just can’t be guaranteed.

If the order seems unfair to one of you, the judge might ask to see you.

What happens at a court hearing for a consent order?

The District Judge will usually ask you for some more details. 

balanced consent order
A fair consent order doesn’t always have to be equal.

You should explain why you are not dividing assets equally. You should make sure you state all important financial details clearly.

Providing the answers are satisfactory, he/she will go on to make the order as requested.

How is a consent order different from a separation agreement? 

The terms of a consent order are often very similar to a separation agreement.

But, you can only apply for a consent order in divorce proceedings.

You can have a separation agreement without getting divorced.

Enforcing a consent order

You can only enforce a final consent order once you have a decree absolute.

There are various enforcement methods for consent orders.  For example, if a person suddenly refuses to sign a transfer form for a property adjustment order, the judge will sign it instead.

How do I get a clean break consent order?

We offer a full consent order service. 

Fees start at £180 for a simple clean break order and £225 for a standard consent order.

You can use the form below to get in touch, call us on 0161 438 0039, or fill in our fee enquiry form to give us a few more details, so that we can send you an estimate.

You can also contact us to arrange a consultation.