Financial & Legal News

What is a Financial Clean Break in Divorce?

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Having a financial clean break is an important stage in the divorce process, but despite the advice of family solicitors it can sometimes be put to one side by the separating parties.

Divorce and Financial Disclosure

It is necessary to fully declare all financial assets when dealing with the financial settlement process, as failure to disclose can be grounds for the agreement to be set aside. This is why having a qualified family lawyer specialising in financial orders, is the right choice for separating couples.

One case in the High Court is a clear example of this.  In this case a husband falsely manufactured his bank statements and misled his wife by claiming to be bankrupt, whilst at the same time enjoying a luxury lifestyle. The case concluded with the capital claims being in effect left open for his wife to pursue for up to 10 years should assets materialise in the future.

Non-disclosure of all assets

Summing up this case, His Honour Judge Hess concluded:

“If a litigant engages in conduct, which may include full or partial non-disclosure, which causes the court to conclude that a one-off division of capital is likely to cause unfairness and injustice to the other party then the court, in exception to the normal practice, has the discretion to decide that the normal desirability of finality in litigation should be overridden to preserve the possibility of a fair outcome for all parties.”

A professional divorce solicitor will steer clients along the right path, hopefully all assets are taken into account at the time of the divorce and a clean break or consent order can be achieved, as was obviously not the case here.

The Court will always try to achieve a clean break which means there are no further financial obligations between the parties, such as spousal maintenance.

Every case is different, and the expertise and experience of a divorce solicitor is vital to obtaining a fair and final settlement.

Do I need a clean break order

Both parties must agree to the order and as in this High Court Case, fraudulent non-disclosure of assets can invalidate the agreement.

 “A clean break order means exactly that and ends all monetary claims between the spouses or civil partners and it’s what I advise my clients to work towards,” said Divorce Solicitor, Emma Kendall.

“The last thing couples want when they are divorcing is the thought of being tied together financially for years to come,” said Emma.

“A divorce does not automatically end a couple’s financial relationship and it really does not matter how long they have been split up should one party inherit a large amount of money, have a lottery win or gain wealth through a business or other means, there is no time limit on their ex making a claim unless a clean break financial order approved by the courts is in place.,” she added.

How can we help

For legal advice on clean break or consent orders contact our specialist family and divorce solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Emma Kendall


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