Ex Won’t Sign Clean Break Order - What Can I Do?

sarah ryan
Sarah RyanAccount Manager @ Lawhive & Non-Practising Solicitor
Updated on 18th January 2024

A clean break order in a divorce is a legal way of cutting financial ties with your ex. To get one, both parties must agree and sign the order. When this is done neither party can make a future claim on the other’s assets or income. 

However, what if you’re trying to bring about a clean break but your ex refuses to sign it? In this article, we’ll look at how you can try and solve the situation with the least stress and conflict possible.

My ex won’t sign the clean break order - what can I do? 

In a perfect world, separating couples should be able to talk and come to an agreement when it comes to finances. But that’s not always the case and dividing assets in a divorce can be a stressful sticking point. If your ex won’t sign a clean break order, there are options to explore. 

Try mediation 

In mediation, a neutral third party helps you and your ex-spouse reach an agreement. It's useful for various divorce matters, including child arrangements and sorting out finances. 

If you can't agree on a clean break order, mediation may be effective in moving the process forward. However, there are some situations where mediation might not be suitable. For example, if there is evidence of domestic abuse. 

Usually, if you're looking to start legal proceedings relating to finances in a divorce, you will have to attend a MIAM, which is a meeting that looks at whether mediation might be a suitable means of sorting the problem out.

Don’t debate, collaborate 

Collaborative lawyers can help separating couples solve problems without going to court. 

In these situations, each party hires a lawyer and they negotiate face-to-face. Often, this approach is quicker and cheaper than going to court.

Having said that, collaborative law is only effective if both you and your ex are still able to communicate and cooperate. If, for any reason, one or both of you aren’t committed to trying to find a mutually agreeable solution, collaborative law may not work.

Let your solicitors do the talking

When there is conflict over finances in a divorce, getting help from a solicitor is recommended. Particularly if reaching an agreement with your ex is proving challenging. 

Rather than continuing to go around in circles, you might consider letting your respective solicitors take the lead in negotiating a settlement with each other based on your instructions. 

Apply for an ancillary relief order 

If your ex won't sign a clean break order after all of the above, you can go to court for an ancillary relief order. This does involve legal professionals and court fees, making it a pricier route, however, it may help you secure a clean break order or other financial order, if your ex is not being cooperative. 

Ancillary relief in divorce means asking a court to decide how money and assets should be split. It’s important to note that during ancillary relief proceedings, a court may not agree that a clean break order is the fairest settlement when all the factors, like children, housing needs, income needs, are taken into account. If this is the case they may make a different order which both you and your ex will have to comply with.  

How Lawhive can help 

Clean break orders are a cost-effective way to cut financial ties during a divorce if both parties cooperate. However, a disagreeable ex may challenge what they see as an unfair settlement, which can make the process lengthy, expensive and stressful.

If your ex won't sign a clean break order, contact our divorce solicitors for guidance. Our experts offer fixed-fee assistance. Get a free case assessment today to find out more.

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