It is essential that where agreement on property, maintenance and the division of the matrimonial assets has been reached between spouses who are divorcing that their agreement is given legal effect and made binding by asking the court to make a consent order in the agreed terms. If this is not done the financial ties, property interests and obligations of the marriage will continue notwithstanding the marriage having been dissolved. This could result in your former spouse making financial claims upon you long after you were divorced and on your estate after you die.
The court will usually make a consent order in matrimonial proceedings without hearing evidence or argument from the patties but it is important to note that it is not a rubber stamping exercise. Before making a consent order the court must be satisfied that:
- It has jurisdiction to make the order (e.g. after decree nisi has been pronounced);
- That it has the power to make the order (as in S22-24MCA)
- That the order is fair and reasonable and complies with the S25MCA criteria.
Do I have to go to court to get a consent order?
I want a consent order but my spouse won’t agree one. Can I make them?
“….on an application for a consent order for financial provision the court may, unless it has reason to think that there are other circumstances into which it ought to inquire, make an order in the terms agreed on the basis only of the prescribed information furnished with the application”The prescribed information which must be provided on Form D81 is set out in Rule 2.61 of the Family Proceedings Rules and includes information on:
- The length of the marriage, age of the parties and any children, and whether either party intends to remarry or cohabit;
- A summary of the value of capital assets and income of the parties;
- The proposed accommodation arrangements.