What orders the court can make

In some cases, mediation and out of court negotiations are unsuccessful and there’s no other option to attend court for them to make a verdict on what payments should be made and how assets and finances should be distributed. In these situations the court has a number of different orders than can issue, find out more about them below.

If you want further information or assistance on the orders courts can make get in touch with one of our specialist family law team, they’ll be able to give you some free impartial advice. Get in touch by calling 0203 9252 301 or completing an online enquiry form.

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Periodic payments

If you require urgent finances from your spouse during the process the Court are able to make an order for Maintenance Pending suit. This is an interim order compelling a spouse to make either a lump sum or periodic payment throughout the term of the proceedings.

At the conclusion of the proceedings the Court can order either that a lump sum settlement payment is made (see Lump Sum Order below) or a regular payment at set intervals, normally monthly, for a limited period, or until death.

Seeking a Periodic Payment or Maintenance Order means that if financial circumstances of either party changes in the future the amount payable is more flexible as an Application to the Court can be made for a variation to the order.

Our Specialist Solicitors can assist in ensuring that any maintenance order that is made is in the best interests of our clients where possible, whether we act for the paying or receiving party.

Lump sum order

A Lump Sum Order is, where parties agree with each other, or it is ordered that one party pays the other a Lump Sum payment. In making such agreement or passing such an order there has to be consideration as to whether the paying party can a) raise the funds within the time frame required, maybe through savings, lending, mortgage or possibly earnings or, b) has the assets to realise in order to make the payment such as the matrimonial home or other assets.

Once the lump sum has been paid the financial proceedings come to an end and each party is absolved of all further financial links to the other. No further recourse to the Courts can be made should either parties circumstances change for better or worse.

This is a favoured option where a marriage has ended relatively amicably and both parties are of an equal financial standing and there are for example no children of the relationship that are dependent on either spouse.

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Property adjustment order

A property adjustment order is a significant matter in financial relief proceedings and can affect many aspects of our clients lives whether we are seeking or defending a property adjustment order. If you are faced with an application for a property adjustment order it is very important that legal advice is obtained immediately.

When considering the making of an order dealing with the matrimonial property of one spouse or the other the courts starting point must be to consider the welfare of any children under the age of 18. If there are no children then it is possible that an alternative order may be more suitable, unless special circumstances arise, and you ought to seek legal advice before pursuing such an order.

A property adjustment order cannot be made until a decree absolute has been obtained in any divorce proceedings. The terms of such an order can also be very far reaching and deal with many matters including the variations of pre or post nuptial agreements, transferring the matrimonial home or other property from one party to the other whether they have legal title to the same or not at the time of divorce.

A property adjustment order does not solely relate to physical property such as a house or flat, it can also refer to shares or other possessions such as vehicles and valuable art for example.

Given the significance of a property adjustment order it is important to have expert legal advice and our specialist team of financial relief solicitors can assist.

David Durkin-Finch

Senior partner

Jacqueline Tanner

Head of litigation

Order for sale

Where the court makes a either of the above types of order, ie periodic payments or maintenance order, lump sum or a property adjustment order they can simultaneously also make an order of sale of the property. Again the property can either be physical such as a home or artwork for example or financial such as shares etc.

Pension orders

Where either spouse has a pension the court can make an order dealing with how the other spouse can benefit from the pension in the future. Such orders are:

Pension sharing

Pension attachment

Offsetting (Making a lump sum payment rather than partaking in the benefit of a share of the pension)

Deferred lump sum (A lump sum from commutation)

Clean break

A clean break order can be made as part of a larger order or alone and deals with the complete separation of each spouses financial relationship to the other. Without such an order the financial aspects of a divorce can be re-visited by either spouse at any time. It is always important to ensure that where possible a clean break order is made even if this does not come into effect until such time as other trigger events occur.