The reality is that receiving your decree absolute does not mean that your ex-spouse cannot make a financial claim against you in the future. The only way to prevent your spouse making future financial claims is through a clean break divorce.
When people talk about a clean break divorce, they are usually referring to a type of court order known as a ‘clean break order’.
A clean break order will end your ex-spouse’s right to make a financial claim against you – and vice versa.
If both parties agree how their assets and debts should be split when they divorce, either between themselves or via other methods such as Collaborative Law or Mediation, the agreement can be made legally binding through a court order known as a ‘consent order’.
In order to be able to have your agreement made into a legally binding consent order, it must be fair to both parties.
A clean break clause can be included as part of a consent order.
If there are no assets to divide and both parties want to ensure that all financial ties are severed upon divorce, a clean break order alone may suffice.
Without a consent order or a clean break order, a clean break divorce will not take place. Without a clean break divorce, your ex-spouse may be able to make a financial claim against you in the future.
In England and Wales, although a decree absolute is the legal end of your marriage, your financial obligations towards each other will continue, unless you have a court order which says otherwise.
Once you have reached an agreement with your spouse about how to split your assets upon divorce, a solicitor will draft your financial application before submitting it to the court for approval.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse regarding your financial settlement, either between yourselves are through other methods, this does not mean that you will not be able to achieve a clean break divorce.
A clean break divorce is not suitable for everyone. If, for example, maintenance payments make up part of your financial settlement, a deferred clean break may be preferable. Also, if one spouse is just about to move into a job which pays much better, a clean break divorce may not be advised.
It’s always best to seek advice from a solicitor to find out whether a clean break divorce is right for your circumstances.
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