Ian Butterworth
Partner & Solicitor
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Date Published:27 Jan 2017 Last Updated:26 Nov 2021

What is a Clean Break Consent Order?

Family Law

A clean break Consent Order is an agreement entered into by divorcing couples in order to prevent one or both of them from making any claims against the other’s future income and/or assets. In the absence of such an Order, the parties’ claims against each other’s finances will remain open. The completion of the divorce through the pronouncement of the Decree Absolute does not, by itself, prevent one party making a claim against the other’s income or assets.

There are two types of clean break Order. A full clean break dismisses both spousal maintenance and capital claims. Whereas, a capital clean break Order only dismisses claims against the other’s assets. It will not prevent maintenance (or income) claims. Typically, such claims will be kept alive through a substantive maintenance Order. Sometimes, however, the parties will agree a nominal maintenance Order which recognises that maintenance is not payable now but leaves the door open for income claims to be made at some point in the future if there is a change in one of the parties’ circumstances.

It should be noted at this juncture that a clean break Order does not prevent the primary carer of the parties’ children from claiming child maintenance. It is not possible to dismiss child maintenance claims through the Courts. If not dealt with in the Order, the primary carer will be able to apply for such maintenance through the CSA (now the Child Maintenance Service).

There is no difference in outcome between a clean break Consent Order and a clean break Order. The only difference is that the aforementioned is made with both parties’ agreement whilst the latter is imposed upon them by the Court.

Should you require any advice or assistance with your divorce or with regard to your financial position following your separation, please do not hesitate to contact Ian Butterworth through this firm’s Family Department on 01202 636223.