Understanding Financial Provision

Anne Thistlethwaite, trained mediator and family law specialist at AMD Solicitors, provides an insight into the world of financial provision during divorce proceedings brought about by a relationship breakdown.

There are many things that need to be taken into account upon the breakdown of any marriage, which can introduce yet more stress into an already delicate situation. Children need to be considered, the basis for divorce proceedings has to be considered and financial provision needs to be taken care of. All of these areas require a careful and detailed approach and so we would always advise that legal advice be taken in this situation.

Financial provision is an important part of any divorce process but it can be difficult to understand, here is a brief explanation of what usually occurs.

What Does It Mean? –

Financial provision simply refers to the section of the ‘prayer’ (the legal name given to the petition which is passed to the court in order to initiate divorce proceedings) which allows either party to request that the court deals with the relevant financial issues which arise due to the breakdown of the marriage. This can include child support payments, ownership of property and even shares of each other’s pensions.

If both parties can come to an agreement regarding their finances then a consent order can be lodged at court for approval by a Judge. This will not require a detailed examination by a Judge of the couples finances but just a brief summary so that the Judge can see that the terms look reasonable. However, if an agreement is not reached and provided a petition has been issued at court by one party, then court proceedings can be initiated and either party can submit an Application for Financial Provision.

What Happens Next? –

At this point, each party has an obligation to provide full and frank details to the court. There is a standard form used for this which is called a “Form E”. The court will set a timetable for exchange of the Form Es and fix a date for what is known as the First Directions Appointment (FDA). Each party will have time to consider the other’s financial disclosure before the FDA. Information may be disclosed which they were not aware of. Alternatively, it may be that full disclosure hasn’t been given. Each party has a chance to ask for further disclosure from the other party. The Judge will consider whether orders should be made for further disclosure and possibly other action, such as valuations, at the First Appointment and make an order for these steps to be taken.

Following this there will be a further hearing, known as a Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment, (FDR) and at this appointment the Judge tries to give the parties an indication of what the likely outcome will be so that they can try to reach an agreement. If no agreement is reached at this point then the court will list the matter for a Final Hearing. At the Final Hearing the Judge will consider all of the evidence and each party will have to give evidence and may be asked questions by the other party.

What Are The Possible Outcomes? –

The outcomes of the Final Hearing could include Financial Orders which involve; an order for one party to pay the other maintenance payments at regular intervals for a predetermined period of time (Periodical Payments), an order for one party to pay the other a capital sum (possibly in one go or in instalments) which is called a Lump Sum Order and a variety of orders pertaining to the ownership of any property (Property Adjustment Orders) which could include a sale of a property or a transfer from one party to the other. 

At our Bristol law firm, we understand that the breakdown of a marriage is a tough time whatever the circumstances and therefore offer professional and impartial advice on any the legal issues related to this.

If you would like any additional information surrounding financial provision or anything else relating to divorce proceedings, you can make an appointment at our Henleaze office. Alternatively you can contact Anne Thistlethwaite on 0117 9621205 or email annethistlethwaite@amdsolicitors.com.

This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

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