When married couples decide to formally dissolve the marriage, the first step is usually to commence divorce proceedings. In the divorce petition there is provision for the petitioner to tick a box to say whether they want to deal with financial issues, such as maintenance or a lump sum.

When a couple separates sometimes they are able to reach an agreement amicably without the need for legal advice. However, it is vital that such agreements are then recorded in a consent order, as this will avoid issues in the future. Without a consent order, it is open to both parties at any time in the future to make a claim against the other’s assets. Therefore, the importance of seeking legal advice should not be ignored, even when the separation is amicable.