Consent Orders and the New Divorce Law

Our Pauline O'Rourke discusses the impact on financial matters when the new divorce law comes into force this April.

Consent Orders and the new D81 form.

We have new divorce procedures coming in to force in April but it is important for the lay person to appreciate that getting divorced and obtaining a clean break financial order on your finances are two separate processes.

You can apply to the court for an order on your agreed terms of settlement (a “consent order”) once you have your conditional divorce order (decree nisi). This financial consent order in draft is placed before a Judge who will approve the making of your order but only if it is reasonable and fair to hold the parties to it. To enable this, a joint Statement of Information D81 form must be completed by the parties, signed and submitted as part of the consent order application. This form completion is a significant step and care must be taken in its completion.

The D81 has recently been revised and is now 23 pages long and demands a great deal of detail on the parties’ income including child support. In addition, and this is crucial to the making of the order, the Judge expects to see from the form the extent the capital settlement (property, savings and pensions) departs from equality and, if so, an explanation as to why especially in the light of respective pensions. The Judge wants to know, in the light of all information provided, why a clean break is fair.

The new D81 is a lengthy and detailed form. It requires care and attention to ensure the consent order is approved without the delay of it being returned by the Judge wanting further explanation. It is recommended legal advice is sought at each stage of the consent order process and the completion of the new D81 to avoid this and to obtain your consent order in timely way.

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