Family Law

What is a clean break order?

Heard the term ‘clean break order’? If you’ve already started divorce proceedings, you may now be familiar with it.

A clean break order deals with all of your assets, including property, pensions and savings and its main aim is to end financial obligations to your former spouse.

Your solicitor will help you deal with such issues alongside the divorce settlement.

It is important to do this because divorce does not end your financial responsibility to each other. Without a financial order, your former spouse could make a claim against you in years to come – even after your divorce is finalised.

Getting help from our Family Team

Our experienced solicitors will help you establish your financial priorities, including what you hope to keep after your divorce, whether that be a car, property or pension pot.

The starting point for the court is to divide your assets as equally as possible, although adjustments can be made to take into account one party’s weaker financial position.

Negotiations can take place to try to agree on how things will be shared.

Financial orders

 

The court can make several financial orders including:

  • A consent order – seals an agreement made between you and your spouse so that it becomes legally binding

  • A clean break order – divides your assets and ends your financial responsibilities towards each other

  • A property adjustment order – sets out how property will be dealt with

  • A pension sharing order

  • A maintenance order – requires one party to pay money for children to the other

  • A lump sum order – a lump sum is paid to one party

 

How does a clean break order work?

 

A clean break can include maintenance, if the court believes this is necessary. The parties in a divorce are encouraged to work towards financial independence, so if maintenance is granted, it will often be for a fixed period, after which time it will end.

The court will take into account the length of your marriage in deciding how to split your assets.

In the case of a short marriage (five years or less) a court may order that you both leave the marriage with the assets that you brought to it.

In a long marriage, all of your assets are likely to be considered to be marital assets and shared equally or adjusted to take into account the individual circumstances of each party.

 

Securing a clean break order

 

A clean break order can give you certainty for the future and will end the financial obligations you and your spouse have to each other.

But you will need to make a full disclosure of your financial situation. You must explain how many children you have, what property you own, how much you earn and how much you have in savings.

Your solicitor will be able to negotiate on your behalf to try and reach an agreement over sharing of your assets. If this is not possible, they can refer you to a mediator who will work with you both to resolve disagreements.

Agreeing on financial arrangements without involving the court can be beneficial as you will have a level of control over the outcome and it will also be a quicker and more cost-effective process.

If you cannot agree, then an application can be sent to the court asking it to make a clean break order.

Contact us

Our Family Team regularly deals with divorce proceedings and clean break orders. If you’d like to speak to one of our solicitors, you can contact them on 01772 799 600.

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