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Making an Agreement Legally Binding

Dividing money and property becomes much simpler if both parties agree on who gets what. Even so, there are merits for making such an agreement 'legally' binding by creating a consent order.

IF YOU AGREE: Reaching the agreement by yourselves on how to divide money and property means there is no need for official paperwork.

But, making this kind of arrangement when a relationship ends is not legally binding. That means a court would not be able to enforce it.

There is a way to make your own agreement on dividing assets legal and binding. As a rule, you would need the services of a solicitor to help you draw up the paperwork.

How to Make an Agreement Legally Binding

A solicitor would need to draft a ‘consent order’. You can then ask a court to approve your consent order to make the terms in the agreement ‘legally’ bound.

Contents set out in a consent order should explain how you will divide up your assets. It is a legal document that confirms wishes set out in the agreement on your valuable belongings, such as:

  • Money
  • Properties and personal possessions
  • Savings and investments

Note: Providing both of you agree it can also include your arrangements for maintenance payments. In this case, it might also include a family-based arrangement for paying child maintenance.

Deadlines for Making a Consent Order

To meet the conditions for asking the court to approve a consent order, both of these must apply:

  • You already started the paperwork needed to get divorced or to end a civil partnership.
  • You have not yet made an application to get the final legal document that ends the relationship.

Note: The final legal document to end a marriage is the decree absolute, whereas the final order is the one that ends a civil partnership.

Asking for Court Approval

There are several different forms that you and your ex-partner will both need to sign, including:

  • The consent order drafted by a solicitor (and you will need two 2) photocopies of the signed original.
  • A ‘statement of information’ Form D81 to help the court to decide whether the financial and property arrangements are fair.

Also, Form A ‘notice of an application for a financial order’ needs filling in by one of the ex-partners.

The next step is to send the signed forms, copies, and fee, all together to the relevant court. As a rule, this will be the same court that is dealing with the paperwork to divorce or end the civil partnership. Remember to keep some copies for your own records.


Splitting Up Money and Property | How to divide assets and possessions ‘fairly’ when couples separate.

Using Mediation | How a mediator can help ex-partners agree on splitting up their money and property.

Note: Check through the list of court fees to see if you can get help (e.g. if you get benefits or you are on a low income).

If You Get Court Approval for a Consent Order

In most cases, there should be no need for a court hearing. As a rule, if the judge thinks it is fair, the outcome will be to approve the consent order (making it legally binding).

But, if the judge decides that the agreement on dividing assets is not fair, the outcome can either be:

  • To change the consent order.
  • To make a new court order which will inform you how to divide your money and property.

Creating a Consent Order to Make an Agreement Legally Binding