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A clean break is a financial settlement that ends the financial ties between two parties after divorce/dissolution. It means that neither party can make further financial claims against the other, including spousal maintenance, lump sums, pension sharing orders, or property. This type of order is typically preferred by the Family Court but is not always possible, particularly concerning spousal maintenance.
The decision to grant a clean break on spousal maintenance claims depends on the parties’ respective incomes, outgoings, and the presence of dependent children of the family. In situations where one party has limited income or dependent children living with them, a clean break in respect of spousal maintenance may be deemed inappropriate, and keeping spousal maintenance claims open can provide a valuable safety net.
A clean break has many advantages which include no further financial negotiations once approved by the court. It effectively ends the back and forth in the future to settle financial matters thereby providing certainty and finality for both parties. It also legally separates the finances of both parties, safeguarding future assets and preventing claims over each other's income, property, pensions, or other assets in the future.
A clean break does not affect child maintenance payments. Child maintenance is a separate financial obligation that continues to be the responsibility of the non-resident parent, regardless of the clean break. The clean break specifically covers the financial ties between the parties, including spousal maintenance and assets, but it does not prevent either party, especially the primary carer of the children, from claiming child maintenance. Therefore, child maintenance payments are not impacted by a clean break, and they continue to be legally enforceable obligations.
If a clean break is appropriate given all the circumstances of a divorce/dissolution, the relevant provision must be included in a Consent/Court Order which is the document drafted by solicitors and/or the Family Court containing all the terms agreed or made in respect of division of the matrimonial assets.
It is important to note that simply divorcing or dissolving your civil partnership will not achieve a clean break; the clean break provision must be contained in a Consent/Court Order.
For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.Back to Law Articles