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We've agreed the divorce - do we need to see a solicitor?

The short answer is yes.

In 2022 the law changed to a no fault divorce system. This means that, provided you have been married for over a year, parties can apply for a divorce without one party having to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage. You might want to instruct a solicitor to help you with this, or you may decide to do it yourself.

However getting a divorce only means that you are no longer married. Even if you have agreed how to split the matrimonial finances, such as any property, these need to be dealt with separately from the divorce process to obtain a legally binding outcome by drafting and applying to the Court for a consent order. This order sets out the financial agreement reached in the divorce.

Even if you have no assets to divide, you should still apply for a consent order. Only when you get a consent order from the Court will any future financial claims between the parties be dismissed. Without a consent order, there is always a possibility of a future financial claim being made, even many years in the future, such as claims on future inheritances.

It is therefore important that an application for a consent order is drafted correctly to reflect any agreement reached and to dismiss any financial claims in the future.

When we apply for a consent order on your behalf the application is signed by both parties and is sent to the Court together with a short form setting out a summary of each party’s financial position. The Judge will then decide whether the consent order is fair without anyone attending Court. If they approve the consent order, it will then be a binding order and they will send a copy to each party and their solicitors.

If the Judge thinks that it is unfair they will then reject it and say why or ask questions to clarify parts of the order.

It is therefore important when getting divorced, even where you have agreed on how to split your finances, to get expert legal advice to make sure that the agreement is incorporated into a binding Court order to protect you in the future.

Contact out Family Law Team for further information