The cost of not getting a clean break order in divorce

The cost to Mr Vince of not obtaining a clean break order, in the divorce that took place 19 years before his former wife made a financial application, was a payment to Mrs Wyatt of £625,000.  This was a payment of £300,000 for the wife and £325,000 towards her legal costs.  She may have additional costs on top of this.  Mr Vince’s legal costs have not been disclosed, but are likely to be at least the same as Mrs Wyatt’s legal costs.  The total cost to him therefore is of the order of £1,000,000.

When Mr Vince was divorced from Mrs Wyatt, he could probably have obtained a clean break order at that time.  This would have dismissed all financial claims that the parties have against each other in life and on death.  The legal costs for obtaining this will vary depending upon whether such an order is agreed in the first place or is obtained after contested Court proceedings.  The minimum cost would be in the region of £1,000 plus VAT plus £50 Court fee.  It is important to think of this as some sort of insurance policy.  You always hope that you will never make a claim on an insurance policy, but you understand the need to insure yourself against something going wrong in future.  Most people would not leave their house uninsured.  Mr Vince discovered the problems that can arise, even 19 years after he was divorced, by not obtaining a clean break order.

Clean break orders are not automatically made by the Court, particularly where there are dependent children.  However, the Court is under a duty to see if a clean break order can be achieved.  If no clean break order can be achieved now, the Court can look at the basis on which a clean break order can be made in future, for example when the children are no longer dependent.

If you have any questions with regard to obtaining a clean break order then please contact Nigel Davies on 01562 820575 or email


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