What happens in a financial remedy hearing?
When couples cannot agree on how their assets should be split upon divorce, they often seek help from the Financial Remedies Court to enforce what is called a financial order. This allows the court the power to split assets as it deems appropriate based on the circumstances.
In the financial remedy proceedings process, you will need to attend two hearing appointments and a final hearing. Before the first hearing appointment, you must complete documentation called form E. You will have to detail all the assets that you own and any debts due and provide proof of these for the purposes of disclosing everything for the hearing. This is so that the court is able to understand what is involved in the divorce.
During the first hearing, the judge will go through the details of the case with both parties and request any further information if needed. If the assets are particularly complex or the value is undetermined, they may need to have them valued or seek independent expert advice. If a resolution cannot be reached at this stage, the case will go to the next stage which is the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) Appointment.
The Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) Appointment is where both parties negotiate the terms of the settlement and put across their proposals via their solicitors. Often, parties are able to agree at this stage on how their assets should be divided, however, if not, then they will need to progress to the final stage.
Once the case goes to a final hearing, this is where the court makes a decision on how the assets should be divided. The outcome is legally binding which is why a settlement agreement is encouraged at the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) Appointment.
The judge will decide how the assets should be split based on the individual circumstances of the case. The desired outcome is that both parties’ needs are met and that any children involved are protected. The court will try to achieve a 50/50 split, although sometimes this is not possible.
The judge will look at the length of the marriage, the age of each person, their responsibilities, and their ability to earn money. The first port of call is to find a clean break, but if this is not achievable, the court may have to work out whether one party should pay spousal maintenance.
Does a financial settlement have to go to Court?
No. A settlement can be negotiated between parties, with the assistance of their solicitors, without the need to go to court.
If an agreement is reached in this way, it will then be checked by the Court to ensure that it is reasonable and endorsed by them to make it a legally binding order. Most cases are agreed in this way but if an agreement cannot be reached because one or both parties are uncooperative or unreasonable, then it will be necessary to go to Court.
How can GloverPriest help?
It is important to get sound legal advice and representation from a family law solicitor who will advise how to best proceed when splitting your assets upon divorce.
Our team of specialised family law solicitors is here to provide you with support and advice on your divorce.