clean-break-divorce

Sometimes the term ‘clean break’ is used to describe divorce settlements that are not strictly speaking clean breaks at all. Here we answer some of the common questions our clients ask about this type of family court order.

What is a clean break divorce?

The term is used to describe a specific type of court order following divorce. Each party dismisses any financial claims against the other so that once the divorce is finalised there can be no claim for further financial provision by one party against the other.

It does not cover a parent’s financial obligations to his or her children. These are dealt with separately. Financial claims may also be reopened in certain circumstances where it becomes clear that one spouse has not fully disclosed his or her assets at the time of the settlement.

What about maintenance payments?

In a clean break, one spouse pays the other a lump sum figure in place of regular maintenance.

How do I apply for a clean break order?

The court can decide to make this type of order even if the divorcing parties do not ask for it. Or it can make the order as part of an overall consent order. To approve a clean break order the judge must be satisfied that the agreed terms are fair to both parties. And this means the parties must provide all relevant financial information to the court in sufficient detail.

There is a considerable amount of paperwork involved and unless your finances are extremely straightforward you should draft your proposals carefully. Many people seek specialist legal advice at this point. This is because of the potentially negative long-term repercussions if the draft order is not in the correct form.

What paperwork is involved?

You need:

  • A completed Notice of Application form
  • Court fee
  • Your draft proposals
  • Financial information form

When does a clean break come into effect

The clean break takes effect as part of the consent order approved by the court.

Will I have to go to court?

Unless your financial matters are complicated or the proposed terms appear to disproportionately favour one side then you are unlikely to have to attend court. A solicitor familiar with family court procedure will understand the precise information necessary to enable the court to make a decision on the clean break provisions. If one of you is acting without legal representation the court is likely to ask you to attend.

Who should seek a clean break?

Although not suitable in every case, clean break divorces are attractive to many divorcing couples. They result in a complete separation of financial matters enabling parties to embark on a new chapter in their lives. The government and courts encourage clean breaks because they provide certainty in family matters. They are therefore considered to be in the public interest.

Clean breaks are particularly common where both parties have clear future earning power, the marriage has been short and there are no young children.

In the absence of a clean break, a spouse can revisit financial matters at any time. If you inherit money or your earnings increase substantially you may find yourself the subject of a financial claim decades after your divorce.

When is a clean break suitable

Sometimes regular maintenance payments instead of a lump sum payment that leads to a clean break may be more appropriate. For example:

  • Where one spouse is retired and has reduced earning capacity
  • There are young children
  • The earning capacity of one spouse is unclear

Can I overturn a clean break?

This would seem to go against the very essence of this type of order. But there are certain circumstances in which you can seek to overturn. These include where a spouse has failed to disclose all of his or her assets.

Generally speaking however the courts are reluctant to intervene. So a party seeking to reopen financial matters is likely to have to show that the alleged non- disclosure would have substantially altered the terms of the original order.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

I had a 30-minute consultation with Samantha Jago where she clearly explained all my options and followed up with a detailed email of notes. I would highly recommend if you need help to clarify where you stand and getting options for how you move forward.

Jun 2024   Katherine Davey

I recently had a one hour pro bono consultation with Samantha Jago. I was really blown away by how much she was able to digest in such a short period of time and even more so by the report which I received shortly after.

Apr 2024   S DF

I had applied for a free consultation and I was contacted in a very short timeframe. Thank you so much for the insightful and thorough consultation, Kevin Danagher. You made me feel at ease and you provided clear expectations with the initial info I had provided... I have now a much better understanding on my query.

Feb 2024   Sonia Accardi

We had a very useful first consultation with Amber Matheson today. Amber took the time to understand our (somewhat complicated) set-up, and offered good, understandable advice on next steps. She followed up with a very thorough email clarifying what we had discussed. Highly recommended.

Feb 2024   Lucie

Lovely friendly experience. All questions were answered so that I understood completely.

Dec 2023   Ali Catlin

Very balanced, fair and pragmatic advice. Thoroughly recommend!!

Nov 2023   James Elliott

Henry graciously provided his time for a consultation. I found him to be highly knowledgeable, empathetic and he provided excellent advice which put my mind at ease. Would highly recommend Henry and his firm.

Oct 2023   Allan Ang

Henry Brookman went above and beyond during the free consultation, and even overran the allocated time. He provided invaluable professional advice in a courteous manner. I recommend his firm without reservation.

Sep 2023   Mario Ignatov

I only had my initial free review with Amelia yet I already feel much more strengthened in my legal and financial position. I am currently reflecting on the steps I want to take to negotiate my desired outcome of the financial settlement but, when I am ready to use the services of a lawyer, Amelia is definitely the top on my list.

Sep 2023   Nahid Toubia

I had a zoom consultation with Lauren Moir and she was incredible. Very patient, insightful and reassuring. She also advised me based on my previous conversations with another firm and also clarified various positions I am in. Highly recommend.

Aug 2023   Gary Hawes

I was very impressed with the friendly, helpful and professional service offered by Brookman Solicitors. The generous advice and knowledge offered during the initial free consultation has enabled us to have a much better understanding of our case and plan a way forward.

Jul 2023   Peter Jackson

I had a first consultation with Kevin, who very diligently and professionally provided an exhaustive overview of the divorce process and the best approach for my specific case.

Jul 2023   Giulia Matteo

Great service and excellent advice at the initial consultation. I would certainly recommend and use in the future.

Jul 2023   Tom James

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470