Upon making an application for Financial Procedure, the Court will set a timetable as to when certain documents should be filed at the Court in order to ensure that the case is progressing towards an early settlement.
Whilst this is on-going, it is always our intention to try and resolve matters as quickly and early as possible, whilst at the same time full disclosure of financial matters is necessary for us to advise you and for the Court to make a decision. The process is as follows:
There are usually three Court hearings within finance proceedings following divorce:
- First Directions Appointment (FDA)
- Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment (FDR)
- Final Hearing
First Stage – Disclosure
The parties will be required to complete a Financial Statement (“Form E”) in which they will disclose all of their assets, income and other financial information. The parties are under an on-going duty of full and frank financial disclosure and will be required to swear on oath that the contents of the Form E are true to the best of their knowledge.
We then exchange Form E’s with the other party or their solicitor and at that point we require further information if this is required or missing from their Form E.
Second Stage – First Court Attendance known as First Directions Appointment (FDA)
The first Court attendance following the issuing of an Application for Ancillary Relief is the first appointment when a District Judge will consider issues between the parties and will direct how the case is to proceed in the most cost effective way.
The intention is to propose an early-negotiated settlement. It is often necessary at this stage to request further financial details, for example, if the other party has not supplied all the required information.
Third Stage – Second Court Attendance – Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR)
If the matter has still not settled or been agreed then the FDR is a hearing where both parties are encouraged to try and negotiate and discuss a potential settlement. The District Judge will play an active role in this hearing by listening to the arguments of each party and will usually express a view what he/she considers to be a fair settlement. If at this point a settlement is not reached, the matter will be listed for a final hearing.
Fourth Stage – Final Hearing
The majority of cases do settle before a final hearing and very few cases get this far. In any event, if they do not settle then a District Judge will make a Court Order based upon all the evidence and submissions put by each party and their legal advice. That decision will be binding.
Financial Proceedings and its Process – How does it work?
One of the most frequently asked questions is “What is Financial Proceedings and it’s process? We decided to do a very short write up to explain it. We are experts in family and taking you through the six stages of financial Proceedings if you are going through divorce.
- The Form A: Notice of [intention to proceed with] an application for a financial order. This is the first stage of the above when you fill in a form called the “Form A” and pay a court fee. The Form A and fee should be sent to the court that is dealing with the divorce. It can be sent at any time during or after the divorce petition has been filed. After it is received, the court will issue proceedings. The court will then notify the other party. The court will issue directions setting out the next steps with a timetable.
- The Form E: The courts usually write and let you know when to send this in by. Complete with as much financial information as possible. Once fully completed one copy has to go to Court and one copy to your ex-spouse or their Solicitor.
Your solicitor will need information from you to enable them to prepare the Form E. That
information includes the following:-
- Details of all bank, building society and National Savings accounts, together with
- PEPS, TESSA’s and ISA’s. Copy bank statements for each account are required for the last 12 months.
- A copy of any property valuation that has been obtained in the past 6 months.
- A copy of the most recent mortgage statement.
- Your most recent P60 and your three most recent pay slips.
- A summary of any liabilities including debts etc.
- Pension information which your solicitor will need to obtain on your behalf.
3. The First Directions Appointment (FDA):
First Court hearing in regards to your financial proceedings. One of purpose of this hearing is to define issues and save time and costs. The court will now be able to look at both parties’ disclosure on their Form E’s. It can see what the parties disagree about and how best to resolve the disagreement. The court can make directions that allow this dispute to be resolved. Another purpose is of the FDA is to make sure that the court have all the information they need to decide the case.
4. The Questionnaires:
This is not an automatic stage in these proceedings. Court may order each party to complete a questionnaire. This is aimed at filling in any gaps in the disclosure. It might or might not be a stage during individual proceedings.
5. The Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing (FDR):
This is the second Court hearing in matrimonial financial proceedings. At this stage, both parties should have all of the financial information they need reaching a settlement. Many cases, if not most, do settle at this stage. The purpose of the FDR hearing is to encourage discussion and negotiation between the parties. This hearing is an opportunity to settle as reaching a resolution at this stage could save considerable further expense compared to if matters need to proceed to a Final Hearing.
6. Final Hearing:
Simply put; the final hearing is the hearing where a judge takes matters out of the parties’ hands and hears the evidence and tells the parties what the final order will be. Although the majority of cases settle at or before FDR, but some parties are just unable to reach an agreement.
At KB & Co Solicitors, our family Solicitors are highly experienced in preparing for each stage hearing. We can assist you in all matters including advice, negotiation and representation at court.