How to apply for a consent order in divorce proceedings in England and Wales
Hi I’m Nicola Williams. Welcome to this short tutorial explaining how to apply for a consent order in England and Wales at the conclusion of your divorce or dissolution.
A consent order is basically just like any other order that the court makes, except that there is no dispute.
You and your spouse or civil partner both consent (or agree) to the terms.
So before you can draw up any paperwork, you need to have an agreement.
This may include how to divide any assets or how much maintenance is to be paid; Or it may simply be an agreement that you will not make any claims against each other in the future at all –
This is commonly known as a clean break.
If you don’t have an agreement yet, you cannot apply for a consent order.
If you are finding it difficult to talk things through, you can ask a mediation service to help you. This is usually quicker and cheaper than going to court.
Once you have an agreement, it needs to be written up in the right format for the court.
At this point it is known as a “draft” consent order.
Consent orders should always be drafted by a solicitor or a barrister because they are trained and regulated. They also have mandatory professional indemnity insurance that is designed to pay out if something goes wrong.
Consent orders are usually dealing with all the assets you own and your income.
Be very careful who you trust with this work on your behalf.
Do not pay anyone who is not a regulated solicitor or barrister to draft a consent order for you, unless you are sure that they can fulfil the promises they make on their website or other promotional material.
Once you have the draft order you will also need to complete the application form itself and a separate form that tells the District Judge a little more about you both and why you think your agreement is fair.
You can download both of these forms from the .gov website but you may need a little help filling them in. A solicitor or barrister will be able to help you with them.
The court staff are not legally qualified and cannot give legal advice or help with the forms.
The court cannot make a financial order before there is a decree nisi.
You can prepare all the paperwork in advance but if it is sent to the court before the decree nisi has been listed, it is likely to be sent back to you as the court cannot deal with it.
If you haven’t started your divorce or dissolution proceedings yet, you can apply online via the .gov website.
If you want help with the procedure, you can ask a solicitor. Most people can deal with the divorce paperwork themselves.
There is a court fee. It is £50 as at February 2019. Check the .gov website before you send your paperwork to make sure it hasn’t changed.
- You must have an agreement with your spouse or civil partner;
- Your agreement needs to be written up into a draft consent order;
- You must complete 2 forms – the application form (form A) and a form setting out your financial and other circumstances (form D81).
- You must have a decree nisi of divorce or a conditional order of dissolution of civil partnership; and
- You need to pay a court fee. You may be exempt from the court fee. You can find out more about that here.
For more information or help with your consent order please visit https://nicolawilliams.co.uk/consent-order-factsheet/