Family Law How to Guides...

What is a Clean Break Order?

Reading time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, May 06, 2021

A clean break order is a kind of financial settlement agreed between you and your partner when you get divorced.

It stops the financial commitments between a couple. This means they can separate without having to worry about the other person’s finances.

We’ll explain when a clean break order will be useful and what it does.

What does a clean break order do?

A clean break order gives you exactly that: a clean break when you divorce. It means that there are no longer any financial ties between you and your ex. This means you won’t have to pay any maintenance or alimony.

But it also means you won’t be able to receive anything from your ex after you part ways. It stops any claim that you might have on your partner’s finances after your divorce.

Just because your marriage has ended, it doesn’t legally mean that your financial ties to your ex end.

There are some high-profile cases that highlight the importance of a clean break order. For example, Nigel Page had been divorced for 10 years when he won a £56 million EuroMillions jackpot. He even remarried shortly after the win.

But his ex-wife Wendy took legal action against him after he won the money, claiming she was entitled to a share of his winnings. The couple hadn’t got a clean break order when they divorced, and the court agreed that Wendy was entitled to the money. She was awarded £2 million.

A clean break means this wouldn’t happen. There would be no entitlement to a former spouse’s finances after a divorce. If Nigel and Wendy had got one, she wouldn’t have been able to claim any of his lottery winnings.

When should I get a clean break order?

Agreeing on a clean break order is the right thing for couples without certain things tying them together.

For example, if you haven’t been married long, you don’t own a home together and you have no children, getting a clean break order will make sure you don’t have to worry about future financial claims against you.

If you have been married longer, you do own property together and you have children, things can get more complicated. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a court-approved order to protect your finances.

A consent order has the same aim as a clean break order. It sets out how your finances and assets will be split after a divorce. It’s more appropriate for couples who share things like pensions, savings and property. It can also include any child maintenance payment details.

If you’ve managed to agree on the financial side of your divorce, you can apply for your clean break or consent order when you are granted a decree nisi. It may be possible to apply for a clean break order after the decree absolute, but it becomes more complicated. Your solicitor will help you with the timings of your divorce.

What to do

If you can’t come to an agreement on a consent or clean break order, you might need help agreeing. You could look into mediation or you could get your divorce solicitors to help you.

To find a specialist divorce and family law team, talk to First4Lawyers. We can match you to a qualified and experienced solicitor, who will help you make sure you’re doing the right things for you when it comes to the end of a marriage.

Just give us a call or make an enquiry online and we’ll get back to you. We’re here to help make stressful times a little easier.

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