Q&As

Where a financial consent order has been signed by both parties, what would happen if one party then changed their mind and withdrew their agreement to the order before it was sealed by the court? If the court returns the consent order to ask questions of the parties before approving it, can a party change their mind/withdraw their agreement at that stage?

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Produced in partnership with Matthew Haynes of St Ives Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 13/12/2017

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Matthew Haynes of St Ives Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a financial consent order has been signed by both parties, what would happen if one party then changed their mind and withdrew their agreement to the order before it was sealed by the court? If the court returns the consent order to ask questions of the parties before approving it, can a party change their mind/withdraw their agreement at that stage?

This Q&A deals with two separate scenarios. In either instance, one party is free to change their mind: the issue is whether they will be bound by the agreement which they have reached. The courts will be astute to apply the public policy of upholding agreements which have been freely entered into subject to, in this arena of law, ensuring that they are fair when measured against the section 25 criteria of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

The first question relates to the scenario of where a consent order has been drawn up and signed, possibly approved by the judge, but the change of mind occurs prior to the actual sealing of the order. The process of sealing the order is set out in rule 29.7 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955:

‘(1) A court officer must, when issuing the following documents, seal(, or otherwise authenticate them with the stamp of the court –

….

(b) an order; and

(….

(3) A document purporting to bear the court's seal(G

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