Divorce and the Importance of a Clean Break Order
Getting a clean break order during your divorce is an extremely prudent step, as it will sever the financial ties between you and your ex. This will mean that neither person can request further money from the other in the future.
Financial commitments after divorce
It may seem strange, but even after your divorce is finalised, you and your ex still have financial commitments to each other. Lots of people are horrified to hear this, but it is entirely true, even though it is not widely known amongst the general public. This could potentially mean that at any point in the future, your ex could demand further financial provision from you.
Right now, you might not feel too concerned about this, as you might not have any money to give anyway. But there are times when an individual will acquire further wealth after their divorce. For example, you might come into an inheritance, start a successful business, get a big promotion at work, make some wise investments or even win the lottery. Or it might be that your net worth has not actually changed that much since you got divorced, but your ex feels that he/she agreed to a settlement that was not entirely fair, and that this should be rectified. This could potentially happen years after you have got divorced. In fact, you may even have got remarried.
Whatever the situation, if the court has not ordered a clean break between you, your ex is within their legal right to ask for a share of your assets at any point after your decree absolute has been issued.
How to get a clean break
The only way to prevent this from happening is to get a clean break order. There are a number of ways you can do this. The most common is to get a consent order from the court. This will set out how your finances and other assets are to be split, and as long as the judge deems it to be fair and reasonable to each person, the agreement will be made legally binding. It will also include a clause confirming that there is a clean break between you.
If you have no assets to divide, you will not have much use for a consent order. However, you can still request a clean break order from the courts. This will ensure that if you do acquire assets or money in the future, they will be protected. Therefore this requires some foresight on your part, as you will be working to safeguard assets that you do not yet have.
Clean break orders and ongoing maintenance
There are some situations where a clean break order will not be suitable, particularly if you need to pay spousal maintenance or you have children in full-time education. In fact, clean break orders can never be used to end your financial commitments to your children.
Alternatively, there are times when a clean break will be made on the basis of certain criteria being fulfilled. For instance, you may be ordered to pay spousal maintenance until a certain time, after which there can be a clean break between you.
Getting a clean break order
If you would like any help getting a financial order during divorce, such as a clean break order, please get in touch with our family law solicitors.