Clean Break Order – What is It & Do I Need One?

This article explains a Clean Break Order to help you to decide if you need one.

What is a Clean Break Order

A Clean Break Order confirms that the financial obligations between you and your ex-partner are concluded. It will end your financial connection and protect you from your ex-partner making a claim against you in the future.

Do I Need a Clean Break Order?

It is a myth that divorce will end all of the financial commitments and possible claims you have against each other.

There is a worryingly high number of people that believe this is the case. It is not. Please be very careful!

It is important to deal with the financial obligations you have to one and another. This can include a Clean Break Order to prevent your ex-partner from making a claim against you in the future.

Okay, so let us build a scenario. Imagine you have been separated from your partner but have not dealt with your finances.

Then, some 10 years later, you win the lottery!

“Woohoo! All Mine!” (you exclaim).

Well, this may not actually be the case. If you have not dealt with the financial matters then it is possible for your ex-partner to come out of the past and make a claim against you.

The Woohoo may just turn in to “Uh Oh” possibly with a few expletives sprinkled therein.

Important Cases Where Claims Arose in the Future

The above scenario is considered an extreme example. However,  it has actually happened!

Here are a couple of examples of an ex-partner making a claim at a later date:

  • There was the case of Mr. Page, he separated from his spouse, remarried and then won £56 million in the Euromillions lottery (the ‘woohoo moment?’). Unfortunately, he did not get a Clean Break Order and his ex-wife made a successful claim and received £2 million in a settlement (‘the uh oh moment?’).
  • There was the case of Wyatt and Vance. They were married for a few years, separated for about eight years and then divorced thereafter. In this case, it seems that when separating, the parties did not deal with financial matters or get a Clean Break Order. However, Mr Vance became a very successful businessman with a company estimated over £57 million (‘the woohoo moment?’). Nevertheless, nearly 20 years later, Ms. Vance (ex-wife) applied for a financial order and it seems the parties settled with her receiving approximately £300,000 (‘the uh oh moment?’).

The above may seem like extreme examples, however, claims by such ex-partners are not limited to such circumstances.

These claims can and do arise in common cases and scenarios.

I have never been a fan of the ‘hard sell’ employed by some companies. Therefore, I suggest you decide on the basis of your financial circumstances if you need one.

Why Are They Important?

Well, the above are examples of ‘real-life’ scenarios why you may want to settle all claims (including future claims) at an early stage.

Therefore, if you are getting divorced, you could consider agreeing on a Clean Break Order with your ex-partner and this can provide you security for the future. Of course, it would all depend on the financial circumstances relevant to your case specifically.

If you can agree on a settlement it could save you a lot of costs.

If you reach an agreement with your ex-partner, you can have a legal representative consider your matter, advise you as to the ramifications of financial clauses, draft the Financial Order (where applicable) and seek for the Family Court to approve it.

This is commonly referred to as a Consent Order agreement.

It would also likely be cheaper than having to deal with financial court proceedings being commenced by your ex-partner in the future.

What are Common Clean Break Orders?

In my experience, the following are common Clean Break Orders:

Immediate Clean Break Order

This will mean that, except as for those matters within the order, the parties’ claims for capital and income shall be dismissed and they normally will not be allowed to make any further applications in the future.

Deferred Clean Break Order

This can be partly viewed as a ‘future’ Clean Break Order.  In some cases, for example, one of you may need to give the other regular maintenance (Spousal Periodical Payment Orders). These maintenance payments will end at a certain point and on the expiry of this, a Clean Break Order will be effective.

This article is drafted by Azhar Hussain (Solicitor-Advocate) of the Azhar Hussain Family Law Blog UK.

 “….The importance of a Clean Break Order cannot be downplayed. The divorce proceedings are separate from the financial remedy proceedings. The divorce deals with dissolving your marriage and the financial remedy orders deal with your financial matters. It is important for you to take independent legal advice to understand financial matters (inc Clean Break Orders) and protect yourself. During this process, you can consider a Clean Break Order. If you do not deal with the financial claims attached to your marriage, it could prove to be a very unfortunate error that could lead to additional costs, proceedings and disputes. ….”

Azhar Hussain | Solicitor-Advocate | Azhar Hussain Family Law Blog

Other Free Family Resources:

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  2. Unreasonable Behaviour Explained? – Vlog
  3. How Will The Court Distribute Assets & Income on Divorce? – Article
  4. What is Financial Disclosure on Divorce & Separation? – Article

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