If you are unable to reach agreement with your former partner as to the family finances (house, savings, pensions, etc.) following the breakdown of your marriage, you can apply to the family court for a financial order. This will involve the court hearing ‘evidence’ and a judge deciding how the matrimonial assets are to be divided, in other words, who gets what and by when. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position where your ex is being unreasonable and unrealistic as to how the family assets are are divided (as many of my clients do) then issuing court proceedings for a financial order is your way forward.
The Court process summarised:
• Pre-action protocol (subject to certain exemptions, you will need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before you can start court proceedings. Further information about MIAM can be found here.
• Issue the court Application by completing Form A and pay the court fee of £255.
There then follows a sequence of three separate court hearings. If at any point during the court process you are able to reach a settlement with your ex, you both inform the court and the proceedings will stop.
• the first hearing is called the First Directions Appointment – FDA
• the second hearing is called the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing – FDR
• the third in the sequence of hearings is the Final Hearing (often referred to as the trial). The final hearing could be listed to last 1, 2, 3 or more days as predetermined by the court.
At the end of the final hearing, the judge will make a final decision on the case and deliver his or her judgement. Copies of the Court Order will be sent to both parties. The case is now concluded although it may remain for the parties to implement all or parts of the order.