Going through a Divorce can be difficult and this can be exacerbated by the need to arrange property and finances, which can be a contentious issue.
You can of course agree matters between yourselves but you should then get a consent order agreed and have it sealed as a court order.
When financial matters need to be settled as part of a Divorce and they cannot be resolved through mediation (not going to Court), a Financial Remedy Application (now also known as a Financial Order) can be made by going to Court. This is a procedure to establish the division of money and property between the parties.
If you are going through this process, it is important to have expert legal advice to ensure that you are properly represented. We can provide advice and help you with your Financial Remedy Procedure to make sure your assets are settled fairly as part of your Divorce.
What is a Financial Remedy Order?
Financial remedy proceedings, which are now known as a financial remedy order, helps to settle the financial dispute between divorcing couples in court if they have been unable to resolve things during mediation.
A financial remedy order can include lump sum payments, shares of pensions, ownerships of a property and regular payments for childcare and other needs.
The first step is to lodge a document known as Form A at Court in order to start Financial Remedy Procedure. We can prepare this document on your behalf and can advise of the Court fee payable. Once the Application is filed with the Court, we will also serve any relevant Mortgage Providers or Pension Companies where appropriate.
Both parties are obliged to provide full financial disclosure. This obligation is ongoing throughout the process and extends to a duty to disclose any material changes to either party’s finances after initial disclosure has been given.
Once this is done, the Court will timetable your case, taking into account the following factors:
- A date for when you and your former husband/wife will exchange financial documents (Form E).
- A date for when Questionnaires (questions you wish to ask the Other Side for further information, a Chronology (detailing the relevant dates in your Marriage) and the Statement of Issues are to be filed with the Court. This usually needs to be 14 days before the First Appointment and is served upon your former husband/wife.
- The date of the First Appointment (known as the FDA).
The First Appointment
The objective of the First Appointment is for the Judge to discern if further information is required from either party so that they can establish if full disclosure has been made before negotiations begin to attempt to settle the financial issues.
The Judge will also decide whether any other Directions need to be made, including the valuation of assets and the obtainment of expert information.
If a settlement is not reached at the First Appointment, the Judge will set a date for the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing (FDR).
Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing
After any further information has been served upon each of the parties, they are each obliged to make proposals for the satisfactory settlement of their case. These should be filed with the Court before the FDR Hearing.
It is possible for a settlement to be reached before your FDR Hearing, but if it is not then you be urged to try to reach one at the FDR appointment.
At the FDR hearing, the Judge may indicate what they believe to would be a reasonable conclusion to your case, but they will not impose an Order at this time. Instead, negotiations are encouraged and, if an agreement is reached, the Judge can approve it. If an agreement is not reached, further Directions will be made in order to prepare the case for a Final Hearing. The Judge at FDR will not sit on the final hearing.
If an agreement is reached prior to the Final Hearing date, a Consent Order can be drawn up to formally outline the terms and be filed with the Court for approval.
If an agreement cannot be reached, further documents will need to be prepared. At Court you and your former husband/wife will give evidence to the Judge and they will then decide how the finances should be separated and decide if any one party has an ongoing responsibility to financially support the other.
The Judge will make several Orders which can include:
- The sale of any property
- The transfer of property ownership
- A Lump Sum order
- A Maintenance Order
- A Pension Sharing Order.
The Judge will also be considering if a Clean Break can be made, which would mean you and your former husband/wife would have no financial claim against the other. Your solicitor will discuss possible Orders with you throughout your case.
Any children will be considered first and foremost in order to make their housing arrangements and decide on their maintenance. Other things taken into account will be:
- Ability to earn
- Property and wealth
- Living expenses
- Standard of living
- Role within the Marriage/Civil Partnership.