As outlined in our blog “Divorce – The Financials” a Decree Absolute will bring your marriage to a legal end. However, it will not end your financial commitments between yourself and your former spouse. A decision will need to be made as to what will happen to the family home, bank accounts, possessions, pensions and other assets.
To sever all financial ties between yourself and your former spouse you will need to apply to the court for a Financial Order.
Mediation must be considered prior to making an application to the court. If a resolution cannot be reached you need to attend a MIAM and obtain a certificate before proceedings can be issued. We work hard to try to avoid wherever possible the need for contested court proceedings. In any event, if proceedings become necessary, we would act in your best interests to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
If you are unable to agree how to split your finances then you can approach the court and a Judge will help you decide how you will split up your money, property and possessions. To do this you must apply for a Financial Order. This process is sometimes referred to as ‘ancillary relief’.
Once proceedings are issued the court will set down directions including the requirement for financial disclosure and the case will be listed for a first appointment before a Judge. Disclosure is the provision of all financial documents including but not limited to:
- bank statements for the last 12 months
- credit card balances and often statements for the last 12 months
- value of your home and all other property
- current mortgage statement
- pension valuations
- business accounts for the last 2 years
- P60 and wage slips if employed
The parties also have the opportunity to ask questions regarding the other’s disclosure. Ideally all disclosure is complete before the first hearing. This enables your legal representation to negotiate on your behalf at court. At this stage, if both parties reach an agreement and the Judge agree, the Judge can issue a ‘Final Order’. This will bring an end to the matter.
If there is no agreement, you will have to attend a Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) hearing. An FDR is an informal meeting at court, both parties must attend unless the court orders otherwise. Both parties are encouraged to negotiate a settlement at this stage and the Judge will usually give an indication as to a final settlement if the matter proceeded to a final hearing, although it is not legally binding. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the case will be listed for final hearing.
At the final hearing, the Judge will decide the outcome based on all the evidence. This decision will be shown on a ‘Final Order’ giving details of any arrangements that have to be made as part of the Order. Both parties must obey this decision.
Sarah Watson is a solicitor with over 10 years of experience. She is different to other lawyers, she genuinely cares about the outcome of your case. She will guide you and support you in any way she can.
If you require assistance in relation negotiating a financial settlement with your former spouse or you believe court proceedings are the only option (it does not matter if you have started the process yourself and need guidance) please contact one of our friendly team at Watson Legal either by calling 01279 466910 to book your free 30 minute consultation with Sarah or email firstname.lastname@example.org