While a divorce will usually be a straightforward process, when it comes to agreeing matters of a financial nature many separating couples find it difficult to reach an agreement.
At Curtis Law Solicitors, we provide expert Divorce Law Solicitors within our Family Law department to help represent those wanting a divorce and settle any financial arrangements.
Understanding the process
There are various options available to you in order to ensure the divorce process runs as smoothly as possible.
Initially, negotiation can be entered into by both parties. Full financial information will be shared voluntarily and proposals for settlement put forward. If negotiation is successful in bringing about agreement a Consent Order will be drafted to be signed by both parties and lodged with the Court. A Consent Order is final and legally enforceable.
If negotiation is unable to takes place or for some reason unsuccessful, a referral would be made to a local Mediator. The Mediator would be independent and would attempt to discuss matters with the parties jointly in order to achieve a compromise without the need to make a formal application to Court. As with negotiation, if agreement is reached, a Consent Order would thereafter be drafted.
Since April 2014, all parties wishing to make an application to the Court for financial remedy must have at least attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
If mediation is unsuccessful, the Mediator will provide a ‘certificate’ with confirmation as to why the process has not be deemed suitable.
3. Court application
If agreement cannot be reached either via negotiation or through mediation the only alternative would be to issue a formal application through the Court. Parties are still able to negotiation and quite often this can result in agreement before the matter is decided upon by a Judge.
There are four main stages to the Court application :-
- Issuing the Application and exchange of financial information.
- First Appointment – the first hearing. This is usually a short appointment of 30 minutes with the Judge and is used to determine the issues in a case and whether further evidence is required.
- Financial Dispute Resolution hearing – a more informal meeting with a Judge lasting around 1 hour. The Judge will not make any decisions at this stage however he or she will usually provide an indication as to what the Court is likely to order should the matter proceed to the last stage.
- Final Hearing – if agreement has not been reached through the above stages, a Judge will decide the outcome based on the evidence to hand.
During each process above consideration must be given to the following factors, found in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973:-
- income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources
- financial needs, obligations and responsibilities
- standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
- the ages of each party to the marriage and the length of the marriage;
- physical or mental disability;
- contributions made to the welfare of the family, including looking after the home or caring for the family;
- extreme conduct (behaviour) of the parties
- the value of any benefit a party would lose the chance of acquiring
Contact our Family Law Solicitors
Financial proceedings can often be a minefield to the legally untrained. Seeing a Divorce Law Solicitor at Curtis Law Solicitors can be of benefit to you both emotionally and financially.
For an efficient and jargon free process, contact us today free on 0800 008 7450 or mobile friendly 0333 240 0340.
You can also fill out our online enquiry form below and we’ll contact you shortly.