When a married couple decides to split there are many difficult elements of separation that need to be navigated. There’s the legal elements, child arrangements should there be any children involved, and also the financial aspects. If you and your ex-partner cannot agree on how to divide your finances you can ask a court to make a financial order. You are probably wondering, what is a financial order ?

You may have heard of this referred to as the ‘contested’ route or an ‘ancillary relief order’. A financial order is a type of Court Order which details how you and your ex-spouse will deal with your finances upon divorce. The order can outline how you will share property, pensions and other assets when you divorce. It may even describe how you will deal with liabilities such as loans and credit card debt if necessary.

What is a financial order and why are they important?

Above we outlined the key elements which need to be taken care of when a marriage breaks down. You have the legal element which involves divorce (or a dissolution if you are in a civil partnership). And then there is the financial element which is the separation of your finances and agreement on how your assets will be split. Some couples can come to an agreement amicably by themselves and other couples may need to go through the mediation process in order to reach an agreement.

It’s a common misconception that your finances are dealt with as part of your divorce proceedings. This isn’t really the case at all. Your divorce is only the legal ending of your marriage. Even after divorce, your former spouse can make a financial claim against you. There have been cases where lottery winners have been forced to pay their ex-partner a significant sum. Nigel Page, who won the £56million Euromillions jackpot in 2010 was ordered to pay £2million to his ex-wife by the court, ten years after she left him for another man.

The only way you can protect your finances now and in the future is by getting a financial consent order.

Are they mandatory when divorcing?

A financial order isn’t a mandatory requitement when divorcing, but you should consider getting one – especially if you have assets or you want to prevent your ex from claiming from you in the future. Financial orders are an important part of the divorce process, they can help to ensure the fair division of assets and debts, but also provide a level of certainty for both parties. It is important to seek legal advice when divorcing, and to provide accurate financial information so your solicitor can work to achieve the best outcome.

Can I change the order after signing it?

Something we find clients ask us a lot, is if the financial order can be changed after it has been signed. As long as your order hasn’t gone to court, then yes you are able to amend it if you discover new information, such as the value of your partner’s pension.
If your order has already gone to court, you will need to submit an application to vary the financial order based on the fact you have found out new information which wasn’t initially included.

How do I get a financial order?

In order to get a financial order, you and your spouse must agree on your financial arrangements and ask the court to make them legally binding. The order has to be carefully worded to ensure that it is legally watertight and achieves the financial objectives you seek.

If your relationship has broken down and you want to discuss divorce and the benefit of a financial order with a specialist family law solicitor, we welcome you to contact our team who will support you through the legal process. Send us a confidential message via our online contact form to see how we can help you.