Family Law Hub

Consent Orders

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  • A consent order drafted by the wife's counsel had stated that periodical payments from the husband to the wife would cease upon the husband's remarriage, due to a drafting error. Upon notice of his remarriage and his intention to cease the payments, the wife successfully applied without notice to have the order amended under the slip rule. The husband applied out of time for permission to appeal and to set the previous orders aside. Knowles J found that the court had had jurisdiction to amend the order, despite the husband's assertion that it was no longer extant. The error in the consent order had been wholly accidental and genuine, though it was unfortunate it had not been detected and corrected earlier. The case law was plain that the slip rule could be used to correct an order to give effect to the court's intention, and that was the case here. If not corrected, the error would deprive the wife of her entitlement to ongoing periodical payments and thus fail to give effect to the court's intention. The husband's appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 18/11/2020, free
  • The wife made an application to implement the terms of a consent order. The husband cross-applied, to have the order implemented in a different manner. The premise of the consent order had been that two valuable properties in London and New York constituted matrimonial property, and their value would be aggregated with a third property, the overall value being divided equally between the parties. In Mostyn J's judgment, the true facts on which he had made the consent order had not been known by either the parties or the court at the time the order was made, and had the true facts been known (regarding the trusts involved, which were not capable of being collapsed or dissolved) he would have made a materially different order. The order was set aside. Judgment, 09/09/2020, free
  • The former wife's defence to claims for possession of the matrimonial home, and for weekly use and occupation payments of £5000, had referred to the terms of the financial remedy consent order, which in her view permitted her to occupy the property until it was sold. The county court judge had rejected her interpretation of the order. Fancourt J allowed her appeal, deciding that the correspondence on which the former husband had relied in the county court was not admissible as evidence of the meaning of the consent order. The county court judge erred in interpreting the order and the reasons he gave for reaching the conclusion that the appellant was a gratuitous licensee were mistaken. Judgment, 11/12/2019, free
  • The former husband applied to set aside part of a consent order relating to maintenance payments. The former wife cross-appealed for enforcement of maintenance arrears. The husband claimed that the consent order had been fraudulently changed without his knowledge, and that his wife had sent emails in his name to the firm involved in drafting the consent order. In emails to her the husband had expressed his belief that the maintenance changes were a mere "paperwork exercise" to enable her to get a new mortgage. Moor J found that the expert handwriting evidence as to the signature on the consent order was of no assistance, but he was satisfied that the wife had perpetrated a fraud on the husband, and that she had sent fraudulent emails on his behalf. The relevant paragraph of the order was set aside, and replaced with a clean break order. The wife owed the husband £248,930 from the sale of the matrimonial home, to be paid within 28 days. Judgment, 11/12/2019, free
  • Husband's appeal against a judgment, in which the wife was released from various undertakings contained in a consent order, was allowed. Judgment, 20/08/2018, free

Latest know-how

  • In a tweet: New undertakings for W where an unforeseen change of circumstances undermined the basis of the original consent order Case note, 26/10/2018, members only
  • In a tweet: Replacement undertakings ordered following significant change of circumstances after clean break Case note, 11/04/2018, members only
  • In a tweet: Unsuccessful attempt by W to re-open a 2005 order. Lengthy litigation history. Case note, 12/06/2017, members only
  • In a tweet: Claims for financial relief on divorce do not vest in the trustee in bankruptcy Case note, 12/01/2017, members only
  • In a tweet: Costs award for husband reduced by 50% because of his own litigation conduct Case note, 07/11/2016, members only

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