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Financial Orders

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As stated in the introduction, legal advice is vital whether financial issues can be agreed or not. The decree absolute does not terminate spouses obligations to each other. Therefore even if the divorce is finalised, applications can be made for financial help at any time thereafter. These are sometimes made many years later. The assets are then usually valued at the date of separation not the divorce. Negotiations are likely to be going on throughout the process. If agreement is reached and the Court approves then the agreement will be turned into a Consent Order. If it cannot be agreed then the Court procedure can be started by either party, but this does not stop an agreement being reached.

Either party files notice claiming Ancillary Relief using Form A - that party is known as the Applicant

Upon receipt Court fixes first appointment and serves notice to both parties

Interim Orders may be made if either party needs financial assistance prior to the final hearing

Form E is filed at least 35 days before first appointment. Statements of property and income are exchanged to which are attached

  • Property valuations
  • Mortgage statements
  • Values of insurance policies
  • Last 12m bank statements
  • Last 2 years business accounts
  • Pension valuations
  • Last 3 payslips and P60
  • Any other useful information

14 days before first appointment both parties must file and serve:

  • chronology
  • statement of the issues
  • questionnaire seeking further information
  • notice stating whether the party can proceed to the Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment

Both parties must produce a first Costs Estimate immediately before the first appointment

First Appointment

  • Aims to identify relevant issues in dispute
  • Documents considered and requests for further information, clarification, evidence etc required to make a decision
  • FDR date set if appropriate or date for further directions
  • District Judge has power to make interim orders, treat appointment as FDR etc

Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) aims to help parties reach agreement - if so the Judge may make appropriate consent order. If not final hearing date is set

Before Final Hearing both parties file and serve statement of open proposals explaining what they think the best solution is as well as comply with any directions from the FDR

At the Final Hearing the issues will be considered and a Court Order made. This will include one or a combination of the following:

  • Lump sum payment from one party to the other
  • Lump sum payment for the benefit of any children (more unusual)
  • a periodical payments order to the other party for as long as the Court decides (maintenance)
  • Make a periodical payments order for the benefit of any children (child maintenance) - this is only if the matter is agreed. If not the Child Support Agency must deal with the matter except in certain circumstances ie a very high earner/resident outside the UK
  • Transfer property from one spouse to another
  • Sell property i.e. the marital home, shares etc
  • Share a pension fund

Although it is possible to conduct your own divorce (see DIY divorce pages) when there are complications in respect of finances or orders related to children, it is recommended that legal advice be taken.