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Looking for advice about consent order

(12 Posts)
MirandaWest Mon 04-Nov-13 14:36:02

XH and I are in the process of divorcing. This part has been amicable (we filled in the forms together and didn't involve solicitors) although he needs to send the form back to apply for the decree nisi and am not sure whether he has done or not yet...but anyway onto the financial part....

There is not much money at all - we sold our house before we separated and due to having made a mess of money in the past there are very few assets. When we moved here my mum and dad gave us some money as we needed it to pay up front rent for the house (due to poor credit history) and XH would like some of that (I used it all to pay rent up front when he left). I am happy (ish) to give him some of it.

The other asset is pensions. I have some from a previous employer and he has some from previous employers and is in a final salary pension scheme now. The total of all the pensions is about £50k. Mine is worth about £14,500 and the plan was to transfer some of his (the current one has a larger value than the amount to transfer). Have looked into this and there would be a £750 charge by his pension provider to transfer, nothing by mine to take it in and about £800 charge by a solicitor to do the legal work needed.I had assumed that XH would pay half but as usual he has "no money". I have some savings but due to freelance work I am always a little concerned to use them. So in total I would be looking at paying about £2,500 (£1,000 payment to XH). I have about £11,000 savings at the moment although in the next few months will be working to bring in about another £6,000. And pay my tax bill etc.

Having looked at predicted pension amounts on my £14,500 I would be looking at getting between about £750 and £1,000 a year so with an extra £10,000 in the pot looking at it simplistically it might be an extra £500 a year or so, from when I'm 65 (am currently 38). I realise I need to think about pensions and getting older but am starting to wonder whether getting some of his pension now is actually worth it.

What does anyone else think? Am wary of mentioning it to XH until I have it straight in my mind, although may talk to my mum and dad about it as well.

All thoughts welcome smile

MirandaWest Mon 04-Nov-13 15:06:38

Been thinking about these and realised I hadn't mentioned the other thing I'd been wondering about - there would be a clean break if the pension were split. What advantages/disadvantages are there of having a clean break without pension sharing?

As far as I can see if either of inherit or win money we cluck claim some from the other one. Or if either of us earns a lot more money. XH is likely to marry his gf at some point in the future - I might get married again. What are the implications especially of not having a clean break?

Thank you smile

McKenzieFriend Mon 04-Nov-13 19:22:59


Clean breaks allow both parties to go off in the future to earn independently with no future claim from the other party. This is neat and tidy as both parties can get back on with their lives. Clean breaks are common where there is no spousal maintenance.

Any spousal maintenance can be applied for variation depending on changes to financial circumstances. However this is very often based on needs. The stress of going backwards and forward to court is often just not worth it.

The majority of spousal maintenance tends to be time specific i.e. just for a few years. Life long maintenance is less common.

All spousal maintenance ends when the person receiving it remarries.

Your claim on his pension contributions is not 'open ended'. The calculation for claims should be at the point of the consent order or Decree Absolute, which ever is first.

I imagine that your ex is only likely to consent to a clean break, and to get anything else may involve the lengthy and stressful ancillary relief process to Final Hearing with still no guarantees of getting maintenance.

The line of least resistance based on 'fairness' is normally the best approach and if both can get to this point without the courts then that is almost always the best outcome.

Hope this helps


Beccawoo Tue 05-Nov-13 07:51:59

I have had a consent order signed off by the court. It details an amount of child maintenance to be paid till my youngest leaves full time education (it is more than the CSA would force but x earns masses so can afford it, and as both my kids are under school age I struggle to go back to work with the childcare cost). It also details £1 spousal maintenance, this is included for the just in case something horrendous happens and means the court could agree for it to be increased in certain circumstances.

We agreed to have a clean break re pensions as indeed it is a lot of hassle and for what I can see, not very much in the end. I am 33 so decided I have plenty of future opportunity to increase my pension.

We wanted to keep the order as straightforward as possible.
Hope that helps somehow?

Zombieminx Tue 05-Nov-13 08:01:11

I don't know much about pensions but the money that your mum and dad gave to YOU to support you in your new home, which as you mention has already been spent on rent... Erm why does he think he should get any of that? I can't imagine that your parents would be very happy about you giving him any of it?

He is your Ex husband. You do not have to support him financially... Especially if he is not providing maintenance/support to you and any children.

MirandaWest Tue 05-Nov-13 11:43:54

Thank you for all the posts - Beccawoo do you mind if I ask roughly how much the solicitors fees were for your consent order? And did it include any other financial elements such as any savings or house? I have no issues with the child maintenance XH pays (and I have been told by more than one solicitor that putting it in a consent order only means it is valid for a year as he could challenge it after that) and so I haven't thought of putting it in. He pays what the CSA recommends anyway (is a medium earner although as he says it all just disappears....)

I equally can't see him ever paying spousal maintenacne and tbh I don't want to ask for it. Realise that things could change in the future but would prefer to be supported by my mum and dad if necessary.

Zombiemix the money was given to both of us when we moved up here to rent together. Then when XH left there was enough for me to be able to pay the up front rent for 6 months (my mum and dad gave us slightly less than that). His viewpoint is that it was joint savings at the time and so he should have some of it now I am in a position to give it. I am a bit hmm about it but tbh would rather just pay it and know it is done iyswim. It also has to be said that his parents have given us money at times in the past and it's not as if they are asking for that back. Also as mentioned above he pays child maintenance and supports the children. I am earning more now and have some savings so I am managing to mostly support myself (with a little help from the government of course grin).

Will carry on thinking about all this...

Zombieminx Tue 05-Nov-13 17:45:49

I think you are right to be hmm about it....unless of course he is also planning to give you some of the supposedly joint funds his parents put in (which seems unlikely from what you have said so far)?!

I would say "the money has been spent - on providing a roof over our heads - and it's not possible to unspend it!". He is trying his luck - keep yours and your DC's best interests at heart and ignore his wheedling.

Beccawoo Tue 05-Nov-13 20:29:41

Hi, not sure how much it all cost as I ended up just paying my solicitor for how much of his time it took, how many phone calls/emails etc. prob about £500 in the end but it doesn't have to be that much just to write one up and send it to court for you. We had listed that the house would be sold and monies split 50/50, but this was actually already completed by the time the court got it anyway.

If you don't need maintenance put in and your house us sold, what do you feel you need the order for?

MirandaWest Tue 05-Nov-13 20:59:35

I think that's why I've posted on here - am wondering if I need one grin. I think I've read stories of a shock tactic type where someone inherits money and without a consent order their ex is able to claim some of it. Or if I began to earn a lot of money that XH could ask for some of it.

Am definitely beginning to veer towards not having one done I think.

Beccawoo Tue 05-Nov-13 21:08:18

My understanding is that once you are divorced, neither is entitled to inheritance from the other, only the children could be. And I don't think he could ask any money from you either - as long as the children are supported with CSA minimum, the rest can be a "clean break" and you no longer have obligations to each other.

MirandaWest Tue 05-Nov-13 21:55:24

I found this (which admittedly is on a solicitors website and they would want people to use their services) but it is one of the things I'm thinking about

"In some circumstances you must have a consent order. For example if you want to divide a pension there must be a court order known as a Pension Sharing Order.
In the majority of cases you should have one to protect yourself from future problems, but it is not mandatory.
Many people do not realise that rights to claim maintenance or property do not diminish over time. There is no limitiaton period.
Therefore 5 or 10 years after a divorce a former spouse can still bring a claim. In fact it can be done any number of years after divorce has concluded.
The only time a claim cannot be brought is if the spouse has remarried beforehand. If you do not issue a claim for financial provision before remarriage you are barred from doing so afterwards.
There may still be other avenues open to a remarried spouse, such as in relation to property under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act. But as far as the divorce is concerned remarriage will prevent future claims under the Matrimonial Causes Act.
Another concern is what happens to your estate after death. Again many people don't realise that a former spouse can bring a claim against your estate if you did not have a financial order (by consent or otherwise) which divided your assets on divorce and also contained an important clause prohibiting such claims in the future.
Our advice is always to have a consent order at the conclusion of a divorce, no matter how simple your situation seems to be and how unlikely you think it is that your former spouse will make a claim against you or your estate in the future
We have dealt with and are still dealing with many cases where just that has happened, somtimes after many years and, in one sad case we have had, after death.
It is relatively inexpensive to have a consent order approved at the end of a divorce and in our expert opinion it is better to have one and enjoy the certainty of knowing everything has been dealt with on a full and final basis, than leaving it to chance.
We advise all our clients of this and we will not be held liable in the future should you not heed this advice and suffer a financially as a consequence"

Of course I don't know if XH knows about these things but he might do.

Sidge Tue 05-Nov-13 22:02:21

We have a consent order - it was drawn up in mediation and formed part of the divorce process, and became legally binding on pronouncement of the Decree Absolute.

Costs-wise it was absorbed into the legal and mediation costs - total of about £1500.

We didn't go for Pension Sharing but do have a Lump Sum order as well as child maintenance and spousal maintenance.

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