This short blog provides guidance on family law in Glasgow, Scotland. With distinct laws from the rest of the UK, Scotland has its own family court system. Topics covered include divorce, child custody, spousal maintenance and more as they apply to Glasgow families. By explaining key Scottish legislation, typical Glasgow court procedures, and legal terminology in plain language, this blog aims to help individuals understand their rights and make informed decisions.
Analysis of how Glasgow courts tend to rule on alimony, child visitation and other domestic cases is provided to shed light on the local legal landscape. Whether starting divorce proceedings or looking to understand parental rights, this blog offers useful family law information for Glasgow residents.
What is a consent order?
Consent orders are legal documents that detail an agreement reached between two or more parties regarding financial issues, such as how assets will be divided. They can help clarify an informal arrangement or formalise an agreement reached through family mediation; furthermore, they can also be used to establish child arrangements during divorce cases.
Legally binding consent orders provide peace of mind for both parties involved, as they ensure the agreed-upon terms can be upheld through court proceedings and prevent future disagreements or any confusion over what was agreed to. Changes can be made later but it’s recommended to have a solicitor review any changes before making decisions on them.
Consent orders typically outline how assets will be divided and managed, such as selling or keeping the former matrimonial home; details on any capital assets like shares in companies and bank accounts; pension benefits (such as benefits which one party may lose out on); maintenance payments will be made and at what rate; as well as including an agreement that waives future claims against either party.
Consent orders should typically be submitted shortly after being awarded a conditional order, marking the midpoint in your divorce proceedings, or prior to making an application for a final order that will formally dissolve your marriage. Alternately, agreements can also be included in a divorce petition or declaration of dissolution of marriage and will take effect as soon as the decree nisi has been pronounced.
If you wish to apply for a consent order, it is advisable to retain a family lawyer, as they will be able to draft your document in accordance with applicable law. It is also advisable to submit a Form D81 Statement of Information so the judge may evaluate whether the agreement is fair and reasonable.
What is included in a consent order?
Consent orders contain terms governing both parties’ financial arrangements, property division (including children’s assets), maintenance obligations, and break clauses in detail. They can also cover debts. A consent order should reflect the agreements reached between both parties and be tailored specifically to cover debts that have accrued as part of any settlement reached between them; legal advice can help ensure all aspects are recorded accurately; and hiring a specialist family law in Glasgow based solicitor will help provide clarity when creating draft orders to document your settlement agreement.
Applying for a financial consent order is often faster, cheaper, and less stressful than court proceedings to obtain a final order such as a Decree Nisi or Absolute. This is particularly true if both parties can reach an informal agreement either independently, through their solicitor, or through mediation sessions.
Once an informal agreement has been reached, its documentation can be presented to the court with a PS53 fee (or reduced fees if you receive benefits). Once submitted to court for approval, they will review both your application and the financial data provided, with a judge considering if the draft order is fair before scheduling a hearing date to further discuss its content with both of you.
Consent orders typically include a “clean break” provision that ensures no ongoing spousal maintenance payments will be required. This is an important consideration since changing terms once agreed upon may be extremely difficult and this protects you from having to make payments if your former partner becomes unemployed or experiences income reduction in the future. It will usually also contain details regarding payments to be made and payments due dates, as well as an “end clause”, allowing one party to terminate after a specific time, such as five years, without incurring further payments or penalty clauses from either party should something come up unexpectedly or alterations occur. Either party can terminate this agreement early to protect you from being subjected to ongoing payments in future years should their former partner become unemployed or experiencing income reduction in future years should they become unemployed or suffer income reduction themselves.
What is the process for obtaining a consent order?
Getting your financial arrangements organised into a consent order may be useful if you and your ex-spouse can reach an arrangement regarding how to divide them after divorce is finalised, as it will prevent either party from making further financial claims against each other afterward. It’s often quicker, cheaper, and less stressful than going through court-based proceedings, where financial orders will be handled by a judge.
As part of the consent order application process, you will need to submit a Statement of Information or Form D81, with details about your finances. Ideally suited is consulting with an experienced family law and divorce solicitor, as they have expert knowledge regarding the legal principles governing financial settlements. Once submitted to court, the judge will consider your application and decide if it’s fair for both parties involved.
As soon as a judge signs off on a consent order, it will become legally binding and detail all terms of your financial settlement, such as lump sum payments, property division and joint bank accounts, maintenance payments (spousal or child), their timescale, and whether there will be a clean break clause that rejects future financial claims that might arise.
Your consent order does not need to be drawn up by a solicitor, though it is strongly recommended. There are services online that offer cost-effective services for creating informal agreements; however, for best results, it’s advisable that an experienced and competent lawyer draft your document, as this legal document has serious legal ramifications if mishandled.
Start court proceedings to have a judge decide your arrangements at three hearings, though this could take as much as 12 months and incur considerable legal fees. Or attend family mediation, where an impartial third-party mediator can help facilitate informal agreements amongst all involved.
What happens if I breach a consent order?
Consent orders are formal agreements signed and sealed by the court after being agreed upon by both parties involved, setting out how their financial affairs should be managed. Any breach could lead to contempt charges against either party and could incur fines or even custodial sentences from a judge.
Before preparing a consent order, it is crucial that professional advice be sought in order to ensure it is written accurately. Should an error or misunderstanding arise, resolution may be possible without legal action being required; however, if the breach was intentional, this could have far-reaching repercussions.
For instance, if one party falls behind on their maintenance payments, they may owe the other any unpaid amounts. Conversely, if changes in circumstances render one party unable to fulfil their obligations within an order, then this issue can usually be solved through an agreement on new terms between both parties.
It may also include agreeing with the other party to defer future payments or extend the duration of an agreement. It is also vital that there be full and frank disclosure of assets, income liabilities, and pension valuations to prevent later disputes between the parties.
Once a consent order has been formally approved by the courts, it becomes legally binding. Unfortunately, however, breaches of agreements reached outside of court proceedings are often violated and without the protection of an indestructible consent order, either party could possibly challenge any arrangements that were agreed, for example, by making additional claims on their estate upon separation.
Consent orders help prevent this by creating a formal legal record of their agreement that can be enforced through court in case it is broken. Therefore, anyone considering a financial settlement with their former partner should take steps to get one in place as soon as possible.