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Why You Should Wait for a Consent Order Before Applying for Your Final Order in Divorce

Divorce can be a complex and emotional process, often fraught with legal and financial considerations. At Easy Online Divorce, we process hundreds of divorces and consent orders each week. One of the most common questions we hear is, “Can I apply for my final order before my consent order is approved?”

This article answers that question by explaining the financial impacts of applying for a final order without a consent order in place and why waiting is in your best interest.

Understanding the Stages of the No-Fault Divorce Process

To understand the importance of a consent order in your divorce, it’s essential to understand the key stages involved in the no-fault divorce process in England and Wales:

  1. Filing for Divorce: The process begins when you file a divorce petition, confirming to the court that your marriage has irretrievably broken down (you are no longer required to blame your spouse for their conduct or to have been separated for a minimum of two years).
  2. Conditional Order: Previously known as the decree nisi, the conditional order is a document stating that the court sees no reason why you cannot divorce. You can apply for your conditional order 20 weeks after the court approves your divorce application.
  3. Final Order: Formerly known as the decree absolute, this is the final stage that legally ends your marriage. You can apply for your final order six weeks after the court grants your conditional order.

A consent order is a legally binding agreement between divorcing parties regarding financial arrangements. It can cover various financial aspects, including property, savings, pensions, and maintenance payments. Once approved by the court, a consent order ensures that the financial settlement is enforceable by law.

At Easy Online Divorce, we offer four types of consent orders:

  1. Clean Break Order: The simplest consent order, suitable for couples with no children or assets to split that protects each party from future claims.
  2. Consent Order: Deals with lump sums, property transfers, and house sales.
  3. Pension Sharing Consent Order: Specifically for couples needing to divide pensions.
  4. High Net Worth Consent Order: This order covers more complex financial arrangements for individuals with assets exceeding £1.5 million.

Applying for your final order to finalise your divorce without an approved consent order can have significant financial implications:

  • Division of Assets: Without a consent order, there is no legally binding agreement on how assets will be divided. This can lead to disputes and potential financial hardship.
  • Pension Sharing Issues: Pensions are often one of the largest assets in a marriage. Without a consent order, you might miss out on a fair share of your spouse’s pension.
  • Pension Claims: Divorce can significantly impact pension entitlements. If your estranged spouse dies post-divorce but pre-settlement, you may lose claim to their pension, creating severe long-term financial implications.

Waiting for the court to approve your consent order before applying for your final order in divorce ensures that your financial arrangements are legally binding and enforceable. This provides peace of mind and financial security. Here are the key reasons to wait:

  • Financial Insecurity and Unresolved Claims: Finalising your divorce without a consent order can leave you financially vulnerable. Without a consent order, there is no legal documentation of how assets will be divided, leaving room for disputes and unresolved claims.
  • Loss of Negotiation Leverage: Before the final order is issued, both parties generally have an interest in reaching a fair agreement. Once the final order is granted, the urgency to negotiate fairly can diminish, potentially leading to an inequitable division of assets.
  • Death in Service Benefits: If one party dies while still legally married, the surviving spouse is often considered the next of kin and entitled to certain benefits. Finalising the divorce without settling these issues can result in losing these benefits.
  • Future Financial Security: A consent order ensures that both parties are clear about their financial rights and obligations, providing peace of mind and security for the future.
  • Avoiding Future Disputes: Without a consent order, there’s a risk of ongoing disputes, which can be costly and stressful.
  • Court Approval and Legal Binding: Once approved by the court, a consent order becomes a legally binding document, preventing either party from reneging on the agreement.

How to Avoid Delaying Your Final Order in Divorce

If you’ve read this far, you don’t need convincing about the benefits of a consent order and why you need one. Your concern is more likely how you can avoid delaying your final order (and therefore delaying your divorce) while getting a consent order.

The key to avoiding delaying your final order in divorce is to start the consent order process as early as possible. At Easy Online Divorce, we recommend beginning the consent order process when you apply for your conditional order. Here’s how we can help:

We offer a streamlined consent order process where we draft all necessary documents within four weeks. This means that your documents will be ready to sign and submit to the court for approval as soon as you receive your conditional order. Given that the time between receiving a conditional order and applying for a final order is six weeks, and the court typically takes four weeks to approve a consent order, this ensures that your divorce and consent order conclude simultaneously.

Start Your Standard Consent Order Process

If you have left things a bit too late and you already have your conditional order, we offer a fast-track one-week consent order service. In this service, we draft your documents and prepare them for signing and submission to the court in just one week.

Fast Track Your Consent Order

Free Consultation Offer

We understand that every divorce is unique, and navigating the financial and legal aspects can be challenging. To help you through this process, we offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and help you understand what information and considerations you need for your consent order. During this consultation, we will advise on the most suitable service for your needs.

Book Your Free Consultation

Conclusion

Finalising a divorce is a significant step, and timing plays a crucial role in ensuring a fair and secure financial settlement. By waiting for your consent order to be approved before applying for your final order, you protect your financial interests and gain peace of mind.

At Easy Online Divorce, we are here to support you through every stage of the process, offering tailored consent order services to meet your needs. Whether you’re starting early or need a fast-track solution, we’re here to help you achieve a smooth and fair divorce settlement.

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