Settling financial disputes when a relationship breaks down
Whether you are married, in a civil partnership or in a long term relationship there can often be financial issues which need to be resolved to secure your financial stability and that of any children in the future. Some individuals are able to reach an agreement between themselves which they just wish to be formalised. Others are able to reach an agreement with assistance from solicitors or by attending mediation.
Unfortunately there are some circumstances when individuals are unable to reach an agreement on how to divide their assets or decide on what financial support they should give each other in the future. In these circumstances it may be necessary to issue court proceedings in order for a Court to decide on what it believes is an equitable financial settlement
How to settle disputes
Save for certain exceptions, it is now compulsory for couples who intend to apply to Court for orders relating to children to attend a MIAM, or Mediation Intake Assessment Meeting, to consider mediation before making an application to Court. This is to encourage couples to resolve matters through mediation without going to Court. For many couples this is a more amicable, less contentious, and more cost effective way of resolving disputes.
Further options to settle disputes can include:
- Voluntary Disclosure
- Voluntary Disclosure
- Consent Order
Contact us for more information on Financial Relief arrangements
If an agreement is not reached through the parties attending a form of mediation or by attempting voluntary disclosure then either party can invoke the court’s jurisdiction. This involves issuing an application for financial relief, (formerly known as ancillary relief).
The procedure can be complicated but the benefit of issuing proceedings is that the court will provide a timetable setting out directions which both parties must comply with, in relation to the disclosure of evidence.
There is a fee to issue the application for financial relief. Generally there will be three hearings prior to a final order being made. The initial hearing is a procedural step after which directions will be made for the parties to file further evidence if required. At the second hearing, also referred to as the FDR (Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing), the District Judge can give an indication of the likely outcome of the case.
Many cases settle after an indication has been provided by the District Judge but if they do not then the case will proceed to trial.
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