You can apply for bankruptcy at any time and you don''t need a Consent Order to do that.
But frankly, if, as you suggest, there are no assets, just debts, then a Consent Order could have only two purposes ; one to apportion responsibility for the debts as between the parties ; and secondly, to dismiss all outstanding claims which one party may have against the other.
And also I should warn you that bankruptcy is not the only way to deal with multiple debt, and advice should always be sought just in case.
I think an appointment with a debt adviser at a CAB might be helpful.
Yes,if finances are not sorted and sealed by court, then one party could come back at a later date, and claim from the other.
Think it is about £750 per person to go bankrupt these days.
Believe me it is not an easy option, but you will be discharged usually after 1 year, although it will stay on your credit report for 6 years.
If you work they may decide that you earn over what they think you need to live on, and therefore you could find that you may be subject to an IPA or IPO, that will not end after your discharge from bankruptcy.
Just remember what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another.
I went bankrupt, the risk was disclosed during negotiations for the Consent Order. it was a necessity for me but it did effect my ex as she copped all 23k of debt.
unfortunately her greed was her downfall.
with regards to Consent Orders and indemnity, im told by the CAB, my solicitor my fed solicitors and a blog on her 2 years ago that she cannot enforce the consent orders indemnity as the risk was disclosed and she took the risk ... and ultimately lost. also its afull and final settlement and signed accordingly.