Financial Application Process
If you cannot reach an agreement with regard to the financial aspects on divorce, you can apply to the Court for a Financial Order in relation to:
- Property ownership;
- Capital payments; and
- Pension sharing.
The process begins by completing an Application for a Financial Remedy (Form A). Once your application has been received by the Court and issued, the matter will be set down for a first hearing. You will be directed, by the Court, to begin the financial disclosure process. You will each be required to provide full and frank disclosure of your respective financial circumstances. First you must complete your Financial Statement (Form E). You will then have the opportunity to exchange Forms E with your spouse and review each other’s disclosure.
The classic financial case involves three hearings.
The First Directions Appointment:
The first hearing is called the First Directions Appointment (FDA). It is to be conducted with the objective of defining the issues and saving costs. The Judge will review the evidence presented in the Financial Statements and gives directions as to what further information or documentation needs to be produced prior to the second hearing, the Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment Hearing (FDR). The purpose of this is to provide the parties with all the information required in order to make a successful attempt at negotiating a settlement at the FDR.
The Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment:
The second hearing is called the Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment (FDR). The purpose of the FDR is to encourage both parties to settle the case if possible. The Judge will not hear any evidence, but will instead rely on the financial disclosure that has been produced. The Judge will then give an indication as to what he or she thinks is the likely outcome, should the matter reach a Final Hearing. It is important to note that the FDR is “without prejudice”, meaning that anything said in front of the Judge or in negotiations outside the courtroom cannot be referred to if the case proceeds to at Final Hearing (Trial).
The Final Hearing:
The third hearing is the Final Hearing or Trial. It is where parties give oral evidence and the Judge reviews all of the documents. In some circumstances, expert witnesses, such as accountants or surveyors, may also be required to attend Court if, for example, there is an ongoing dispute in relation to one party’s evidence. At the end of the Final Hearing, the Judge imposes their Order on the parties.