Can you get divorced without a consent order?

It is possible to divorce without a consent order; however if you do you are likely to just be
leaving the problem for a later date. Your ex-spouse can make a financial claim against you
at any point after the divorce is finalised; even many years down the line. For example, the
court has recently permitted an ex-wife to pursue a claim against her millionaire husband,
even though they had divorced many years before and he generated his wealth after the
divorce.

Your ex could be entitled to your pension

Often people decide to divorce without a consent order because they do not have anything.
However, difficulties arise if you acquire any assets or finances after you divorce. For
example, if you won the lottery, came into an inheritance, create a successful business, build
up a pension, or even just buy a house in future, your ex-spouse would be entitled to make a
claim against these assets.

They may come back for more

Another common reason why people divorce without a consent order is because they are
happy to agree to divide assets between themselves, without a formal agreement. The
problem is that as time goes by, that agreement may breakdown and any informal
agreement will not be upheld by the court. For example your ex-spouse may get a new
partner or friends and family may tell them that the agreement wasn’t fair and they may
come back for more.

Resolving financial matters once and for all

The only way to ensure that financial matters are resolved once and for all is by entering into
a consent order. A consent order is a legally binding agreement, which will prevent any
future claims being made against you by your ex-spouse. A consent order confirms how you
are going to divide up your assets, including:

  • Pension Sharing
  • Property and other household contents
  • Savings and other investments
  • Businesses
  • A clean break order to prevent future claims
  • Child Maintenance & Spousal maintenance


In order to obtain a consent order, both parties will need to be in agreement on the division
of assets. This is because a consent order is a voluntary agreement and must be signed and
approved by both parties. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached, then it is open
to either party to make a formal application to court for a judge to decide how assets should
be divided.

Sometimes couples will write their own agreement and even have it witnessed by a friend or
family member thinking it will be legally binding. This is barely worth the paper it is written
on. You will need to instruct a solicitor to prepare a consent order to ensure that it is legally
binding and enforceable. A consent order is a technical legal document which needs to be
worded in a specific way and format to protect your position in future.