Financial Orders and Proceedings
Going through a divorce can be daunting as there is a vast range of decisions to be made, which can be difficult and traumatic for both you and your family. This situation can be intensified by the need to arrange finances and property, which can be a controversial issue.
Many clients fear that they will be left financially strapped after separating from their civil partner or spouse. Who gets the pensions, the house, the savings? In addition to this, who takes responsibility for the debts?
If you find yourself asking these questions, it is vital that you seek specialist legal advice to determine where you stand and ensure you get assistance with your Financial Order.
When financial matters cannot be resolved through mediation or other out to court negotiation, a Financial Remedy Application can be made to court. If after the application has been made to court, the parties still cannot agree an appropriate settlement before the final hearing, the court will impose a financial settlement on them.
What is a Financial Remedy Order?
A Financial Remedy Order, also known as ‘Ancillary Relief Order’, is a Court Order that confirms a couple’s financial settlement.
As soon as a divorce petition has been filed, an application to the Court can be made by one of the parties to the marriage to determine the financial aspects of the divorce.
The Order can include:
- the share of pensions
- ownership of property
- regular maintenance payments to help out with living costs
- lump sum payment
What is the process of getting a Financial Remedy Order?
At Tollers, we always strive to try to reach an agreement outside of court if possible. However, in some circumstances, this is not possible. Should this be the case, both parties will be required to attend Court. The process is as follows:
- Application Process: The first step required is to complete and lodge an application form known as “Form A” with the Court. Upon the application being received by the Court, a First Directions Appointment (FDA) date will be scheduled. Five weeks before the FDA, both parties will be required to provide full financial disclosure, by completing a ‘Form E’ financial statement. The Form E should be simultaneously exchanged with the other part and also sent to Court.
- First Directions Appointment: When attending the FDA, a District Judge will determine if any additional evidence, valuations or experts reports are required, so that when the matter is next before the court, the parties can enter into meaningful negotiations about settlement. The matter will then be listed for a negotiation hearing called a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing.. If at the FDA there has been full financial disclosure and the parties and Judge agree, this hearing can be converted into a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing.
- Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing (FDR): Each party is required to provide their proposal for settling the case, with their justification for the same. The Judge will hear what both parties propose and will give an indication, based on what they have heard, as to what they believe a fair settlement would be. The parties are then given time to negotiate between themselves, to see if an agreement can be reached. If an agreement is reached, it can be approved by the Judge in a Financial Consent Order and it brings the proceedings to an end. The indication given by the Judge at the FDR is not binding on the parties, as the Judge has not heard any formal evidence from them. However, the Judge’s indication helps the parties negotiations. Most cases do settle at or before the FDR. Should, however, an agreement not be reached, the case will be listed for a Final Hearing.
- Final Hearing: At the Final Hearing, the parties will be required to give formal evidence under oath to the court, will be cross-examined by the other party\their representative and the Judge will make a final determination as to the terms of the financial settlement and a final order made. The Judge’s decision will be binding on the parties.
Talk to Tollers
At Tollers, we advise all our clients to think about their financial positions carefully. Talk to our professional and knowledgeable Family Law solicitors for specialist legal advice today.