A clean break order is a type of financial order issued by the court following a divorce. This type of order provides a clean break regarding finances between you and your ex-spouse.
It provides future protection from either party making financial claims over the other’s income and assets after the divorce. You don’t need to become extremely wealthy for a spouse to submit a claim either. For example, a new business you start after the divorce could highlight a disparity in wealth that an ex-partner may wish to claim against.
When you sign a clean break consent order during a divorce, you are agreeing to the terms set out in the order and agreeing to a clean break which removes any entitlement to make any more financial claims. During the divorce, it is essential that any financial matters are resolved before the clean break order is agreed.
However, there are cases where the court can overturn the clean break, for example, if there has been a case of fraud, or one party failed to make known their property or assets.
A clean break order is usually appropriate for shorter marriages which are usually below five years. The court usually agrees that each party leave the marriage with what they brought into it. Despite the marriage being short, financial disclosure is still necessary, as well as an overview of the assets they came into the marriage with which they acquired independently.
For shorter marriages, the clean break order also usually outlines that each party must not claim against one anothers pension or to make a claim for spousal maintenance.
However, for longer marriages, it’s not as easy to reach a clean break. For example, there needs to be a range of ongoing payments to ensure held assets, such as property, are divided equally between both parties.
In some cases a clean break cannot be agreed and therefore an application for support may be put forward to the court.
Sometimes a clean break may not be appropriate, for example, for longer marriages, it’s not as easy to reach a clean break. The court will decide if a clean break is the best option (section 25A, MCA 1973) and will only approve one between the parties in circumstances where neither party will be left with financial damage.
For the court to be able to confirm the most appropriate action, each party must provide an in-depth full and frank financial disclosure.
Nevertheless, where there are children, especially young children, the court will often ask for an explanation as to why a clean break should be entered into before they agree that it is fair.
When drafting a Clean Break Order it is a must to seek expert legal advice. As a Clean Break Order is an order of the court, it should be drafted by a solicitor, who will make sure it covers all of the necessary provisions to avoid the ex-spouse making future claims.
If you would like advice on clean break orders, spousal maintenance or any other financial family law issues, please contact our Client Care Team here, who can put you in contact with a specialist family finance solicitor.
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