Divorce – how do we divide our money?
Unfortunately sometimes it is not possible to agree financial matters by negotiating through solicitors and/or mediation and it may be necessary to apply to Court. This is known as an application for financial remedy.
Before making an application to Court you must first have attended an individual meeting with a mediator. We can assist you with this. Please be aware that your application may be rejected if you have not complied with this rule.
Beginning the Process – Applying to the Court and Exchanging Financial Information
The application is made to the Family Court. The Court set a timetable including a court hearing. The hearing is usually 16 weeks from the date of the application being sent to the Court.
The Court will provide a date on which the mutual exchange of financial information is to have taken place. Even if you have already exchanged financial information once it will be necessary to do so again by Form E. The Form E is the standard Court form used for providing information about your financial circumstances.
Once this has taken place the Court gives us to time to narrow the issues between the parties by raising any questions we have about the disclosure, for example asking for missing bank statements or asking for more information about a transaction.
In addition we prepare a summary of the matter, a chronology of events and a statement of issues which outlines the issues which are disputed between you. We will also aim to prepare a schedule of assets, income and liabilities which summarises the financial position and matrimonial assets.
The First Hearing – Known as the First Appointment
At this hearing the Court will consider the questions raised by each party about the disclosure and will determine which of those questions should be answered. The Court will also set a date for answering these questions.
The Court will also consider whether any further information or experts are required. For example if we cannot agree a valuation for a property it may be necessary to appoint a surveyor to carry out a valuation.
If possible at this hearing the parties will try to negotiate a settlement at this hearing and if they are able to then the litigation moves to the second stage known as the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing.
The Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing (FDR)
This will either take place the first time you attend Court or a separate hearing will be listed to take place after the answers to the questions about disclosure and any expert evidence has been obtained.
Prior to this hearing it is expected that the parties will begin to negotiate and offers will occur. These offers are made on a “without prejudice” basis normally. However for the purposes of this hearing all offers and the responses to them are disclosed to the Court.
The primary purpose of this hearing is to negotiate a settlement by way of agreement. The Judge hearing the case may give an indication as to the Court’s view of the case in the hope of assisting discussing and negotiation. If this is possible the Court may approve a Consent Order.
If it is not possible to agree a settlement then a Final Hearing will be listed but negotiations should continue after this hearing. We will always do our best to ensure we settle your case at the earliest opportunity which will in turn will keep your costs down.
At this hearing the Judge hearing the case will be different to the Judge who undertook the FDR and will not have seen any of the offers between the parties.
This hearing involves each party putting their evidence before the Court and each party requesting that the Court decide the outcome on a final basis. It can involve each party giving oral evidence to the Court.
Why choose Johnson & Gaunt?
Dealing with divorce is very difficult. We are a local, approachable firm, whose friendly and efficient staff can guide you through the processes involved.
For more information and assistance please contact Robert Wilcox on 01295 759400 or firstname.lastname@example.org