Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Family Lore Clinic: Why do I need a statement of information form for a consent order?
When the parties agree a financial/property settlement on divorce, they should apply to the court for a 'consent order', setting out the terms of the settlement. This ensures, so far as possible, that the settlement is both final and enforceable.
A consent order can usually be obtained through the post, without the necessity of an attendance at court. The parties will have to draft an agreed form of the order (normally a job for a lawyer) and send it to the court, together with a Statement of information form, setting out brief details of the parties' circumstances and means.
The form is required because the court must ensure that the terms of the settlement are broadly reasonable, before it makes the order. The important point to note is that the court is not obliged to make the order simply because the parties agree to it. The court will not make the order unless it is satisfied that the terms are fair and reasonable, and it it needs the details on the form to check that this is the case.
If the court is not satisfied, then it will either request further information from the parties, or it may require them to attend a hearing. Note that even if the court says that the order is unfair to one party and that party confirms that they are still agreeable to it, the court is still not obliged to make the order.
If the order is not made then the settlement will not be final, meaning that either party may still seek a different settlement.
(As usual, if you require more details or specific advice, you should consult a specialist family lawyer.)