There are various alternative ways to settle disputes. One of those is to make an application to the Court. Once the application is made, both parties have to engage with the process.
Proceedings such as this can be extremely helpful in reaching a conclusion as the Court will set a timetable upon which certain things need to be completed.
There are three main stages in the Court process, as detailed in the sliders below.
For anything further, one of our specialists would be delighted to meet you to talk through your options and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time.
The First Appointment
This is the first Court hearing. Prior to this hearing, parties must exchange a Financial Statement more commonly known as a Form E. This template is used in all cases to determine the extent of both parties’ assets, income and liabilities.
We must also prepare a chronology about your lives together, a statement about the issues and we can raise a questionnaire upon the other’s financial statement if you believe there is information missing or require clarification on various points.
The hearing will be used by the Judge to establish whether any documentation is outstanding or whether expert evidence is required in the case.
The Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing (FDR)
By this hearing, both parties should have all of the information they need to properly consider what a fair settlement may look like. On that basis, you will each prepare an off the record offer to try and settle the case.
At the hearing, the Judge will consider both offers and provide a view as to what they think is fair. The Judge will remind both parties about escalating costs and encourage you to try and reach an agreement.
Parties should be mindful that it is unlikely they will emerge with exactly what they want which is unlikely when you are splitting one family pot into two.
The Final Hearing
Should an agreement not be reached at the FDR or afterwards, the matter will be concluded at Final hearing.
Both parties will usually provide a statement as to the legislative factors and will make an open offer to the other side setting out their position.
This offer needs to be very carefully considered as it could be accepted by the Judge and then this is your financial settlement. It will become binding upon divorce and you will be held to it.