There are four key issues addressed when dealing with financial matters on family breakdown.
Our expert lawyers will explain the guiding principles the court tends to adopt in cases similar to yours to predict which might prevail in your case.
The process is discretionary so there is rarely a right or wrong answer in any particular situation.
When dealing with finances following separation or divorce, whatever process option you choose, there are two main points to bear in mind:
(1) There is a requirement on both parties to make a full and frank disclosure of their financial situation which is usually completed by exchanging Financial Statements (Forms E). The rationale behind the financial disclosure process is to obtain a clear picture of the matrimonial assets and income, so equitable decisions can then be made and advice be given, as to how those assets should be shared and the extent to which any maintenance is payable.
(2) The principal aim is to try and achieve a fair outcome which is reached by initially applying a statutory checklist of factors, the first of which is consideration of the welfare of any minor children of the family, followed by the application of a wealth of modern case law principles which have evolved over time.
Due to the very wide discretion of the Court when determining matrimonial financial matter, this process is not a “fine science”. Our role, as your matrimonial solicitor, will be to explain the guiding principles the court tends to adopt in various cases similar to yours and, to predict which of these principles in your case will prevail. There is rarely a right or wrong answer in any particular situation.
There are four key issues addressed when dealing with financial matters on family breakdown. These are (1) maintenance (2) capital (3) pensions and (4) the appropriateness of a clean break now or in the future. It is very difficult to be definitive with advice until the full financial landscape is clear but the aim will be to find an outcome that meets respective needs and is fair in the circumstances of your case.
Most cases settle after the provision of financial information and advice from specialist solicitors but where a financial settlement cannot be agreed, it is possible to apply to the Court to ask a Judge to help you and your spouse settle any issues that may arise.
These are known as Financial Remedy proceedings. The process when making such an application is:
1. Step 1 - Form A :
the form which begins the Application for a Financial Order and which results in the Court setting the timetable.
2. Step 2 - Form E :
formal disclosure of the assets, income etc of each party are provided in the standard form required by the Court.
3. Step 3 - First Directions Appointment (FDA) :
The solicitors must identify the issues, produce questions about additional information required and identify any directions that may be required to resolve the issues such as valuations of property. The Court will then make the appropriate orders at the First Directions Appointment (FDA).
4. Step 4 - Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) :
The Court lists the matter for a Court-assisted Mediation known as a Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing. The District Judge listens to each party’s case and gives an indication as to an appropriate sharing of assets and whether any income orders should be made. The parties are given time to talk at Court to see if the matter can be agreed on that day. If agreement is reached it can be recorded by way a Consent Order at the Court. If no agreement is reached, then the judge lists the matter for a final hearing. The majority of cases that are issued at Court settle at this stage.
5. Step 5 – Final hearing :
A different District Judge to the one who heard the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) will hear the case in full and listen to the evidence of the parties, which includes the disclosure previously submitted, and the Judge will then decide on the division of the assets between the parties, making an Order on that day.
Our expert team of lawyers will guide you through the process to find a solution that is right for you and fair to all involved.