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I want to apply for a financial order

During or after a dissolution, the annulment of a civil partnership (nullity) or separation, there may still be a need for the Court to settle disputes over money or property. The Court can make a financial order. This is known as “ancillary relief” and may deal with the sale or transfer of property, maintenance payments (e.g. weekly or monthly maintenance), a lump sum payment and/or a pension sharing or attachment order.

If you are party to a dissolution, nullity or separation proceedings and you want to apply for a financial order you should speak to a solicitor, CAB, legal advice centre or a law centre. A Court official can give you information about Court procedures but cannot advise you about the merits of your case.

After you begin, there are usually three stages to obtaining a financial order:

  • The First Appointment
  • Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR)
  • The Final Hearing

However, some cases are resolved more quickly and may not need to go through all three stages.

How do I begin?

You must fill in a notice of an application for ancillary relief (Form A) and this needs to be sent to the Court where the dissolution, nullity or separation took (or is taking) place.

How much will it cost?

This will depend upon your financial circumstances and whether you are being advised on our means tested fees. There will be a Court fee to issue your financial application. We will also provide you with an estimate of costs at the outset and prior to any Court hearings.

Costs

At every hearing (from the first appointment through to the final hearing, if there is one) you and the other party must provide the Court with an up to date estimate of your costs in your ancillary relief application (Form H) to help the Judge to make any appropriate costs orders.

What happens once the Court has received my application?

The Court will give you an appointment with a Judge who will first consider your case. This is the First Appointment. The Court will send you and the other party a notice of this appointment (Form C) telling you about this appointment, normally 12 to 16 weeks from the date your filed your Form A. This is to allow you and the other party time to file documents at the Court and serve copies on each other.

The date for the First Appointment can only be changed (adjourned) with the Court’s permission.

What do I need to do before the First Appointment?

Both parties should know about each other’s finances and the matters about which they agree and disagree, and complete a Form E financial statement, ensuring that you have signed the statement of Truth.

No later than 35 days before the First Appointment each party must file the completed and sworn (or affirmed) Form E at Court and serve a copy on the other party at the same time (you should agree a date with the other side for this).

No later than 14 days before the First Appointment al l other documents on the Form C should be filed at Court and served on the other party. The Court could make an order for costs against you if you do not follow the Court’s deadlines on the Form C.

Offers to Settle

You or the other party may at any stage of the proceedings make a written offer to each other to settle any issue or part of the proceedings relating to the application for ancillary relief. You should take legal advice before doing so.

What happens at the First Appointment?

You both have to attend Court (if you do not you may have to pay the other party’s costs). The Judge can give further directions on how to proceed, request more information, make a final order if both parties agree, refer your case to FDR or adjourn for mediation.

What happens at the FDR?

You both have to attend Court for the Judge to help you reach agreement on disagreed matters . No later than 7 days before this hearing the party applying for the order must file at Court details of all offers and proposals made and received. If nothing can be agreed the Judge will fix a date for a Final Hearing.

What happens at the Final Hearing?

Another Judge will consider all available evidence and make an order.

What happens in an agreement is reached before a final order is made?

If agreement is reached you can provide a draft order to the Court. The order cannot come into force until the conditional order has been made final.

If you have any questions or need any further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you.

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