Going through a divorce is never easy. However, despite the strain you and your family will be under, you do need to come to a viable agreement regarding your property and finances. To do this you will need to apply for a financial remedy order. We are often asked at what stage of the proceedings is best to apply for a financial remedy order.
When do you need to apply for a financial remedy order?
If ‘financial remedy order’ is a new phrase to you, it is basically the element of the divorce process that helps settle the financial side of the dispute between the two parties divorcing. The order will be sought if the couple have been unable to come to an agreement during mediation.
The final financial remedy order can include the need for one party to provide ongoing maintenance payments to the other or to transfer a lump sum, share their pension or transfer a property or the proceeds from a sale of a property to their ex.
The process must begin right at the start of proceedings.
It begins with your legal representatives filing your Form A with the Court. This immediately begins the Financial Remedy Procedure.
Once the Form A is filed with the Court, both parties must provide a full financial disclosure of their finances, property and other assets. This is not a single action. From this point both parties are obliged to update their disclosures should their positions change in any way.
Once you have submitted your disclosure the Court will provide:
- The date by which you and your former spouse will need to exchange your financial documents (also known as ‘Form E’)
- The date by which your questionnaires (the questions you wish to ask your spouse during divorce proceedings), a summary of the relevant dates in your Marriage and your Statement of Issues will need to be filed with the Court.
- The date of your First Appointment or ‘FDA’
What is the First Appointment (FDA)?
At the First Appointment the Judge will establish if full disclosures have been made by both parties. They’ll also confirm whether further evidence and/or testimony or reports from expert witnesses will be required to progress the case.
While actual negotiations won’t take place at your First Appointment, it is likely you will receive directions as to how the Judge wants to move the case forward. If a financial settlement is not presented or reached during your First Appointment, the Judge will set a date for your Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing.
At your Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing the Judge will try to set out what they believe represents a reasonable agreement which, even if it is not immediately accepted, will provide a constructive start point for further negotiations.
If you reach an agreement at this stage, the Judge will formally approve the terms and a Consent Order will be drawn up to document the terms.
If an agreement is not reached, a second set of directions will be made. You will use these to prepare for a Final Hearing during which both parties will give further evidence so the Judge can decide how the finances and other assets should be separated. The Judge will then make their final order which will include your Financial Remedy Order.
How long does it take to get a Financial Remedy Order in a divorce?
The court should schedule your First Appointment between 12 and 16 weeks after you make your application. You and your former partner will need to exchange and file your Form E’s no later than 5 weeks before this date.
From there, there are no hard and fast rules as to when you’ll receive your Financial Remedy Order because at the outset it is impossible to ascertain how quickly the court will be able to progress your cases among all the other cases they are dealing with or know many hearings will be required. However, generally speaking it will take 6-12 months to obtain a Financial Remedy Order.