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Hi Chris,

You don’t necessarily need to speak to a solicitor for that initially no, but you will do eventualyl.  While I would urge anyone to seek legal advice from a solicitor before signing anything or to clarify anything that is understood, I did waste a lot of money in the first stages of my separation seeing advice from solicitors that I could have gotten elsewhere – remember the clock is ticking as soon as you walk through the door and they are ruthless no matter how sympathetic they may first appear when you walk through the door.  They are in the business of making money, not necessarily doing things in your best interests.  They are legal experts and so the advice you will get from them will be from a legal standpoint, not from a common sense / best interests perspective. The majority of information regarding clean break orders are things you can do yourselves, you just need a solicitor to read things over once you’ve done that to make it legally binding (i.e. taking the plain English you’ve written down and convert it into legal speak so it can be submitted to court).

Get as much of this first part done as you can before you consult a solicitor unless there is any specific element to your separation that is immediately complicated or if your ex has enlisted a solicitor and you need to respond to anything they put.  In those situations you do need to get a solicitor straight away but even then make sure it’s you in the driving seat, and see one when you have work for them to do otherwise they will find work for themselves to do, make it last as long as possible and charge you for their time, and you will have spent a lot of money before having accomplished your main objective.

When you go to see a solicitor get it straight beforehand what it is you need and what it is you want them to do, otherwise you are putty in their hands while you are going through an emotional time and it ends up them steering the entire separation and they can turn what was initially an amicable separation into all out war.  If you are initially amicable, don’t let this happen.  Use them for what you need, and that’s just to get documents put into legal format and sent.

I can’t put any links on here relating to specific services as it would constitute promoting any specific business but if you do a search online for “consent order template” you will find a few, and it will give an indication of what you need to include.  A clean break order is an addition to that which states that after you have agreed via a consent order how thing will be divided out, then no further claims can be made, which effectively then makes you done and dusted.  This is separate to the divorce, a divorce does not make this automatically happen, but the courts prefer to have these submitted at the time of the divorce.