Family Finances

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Family Finances

The issue of finances and the division of assets following the breakdown of a marriage is an important one, and is often the issue which causes delay to the divorce being finalised.

Spouses or civil partners during or after divorce/dissolution proceedings can make financial claims against one another in relation to property, maintenance, pension shares, and various other financial claims.


The best way to resolve any financial dispute is to first try mediation.  This is a good alternative to court proceedings and can often make a stressful and sometimes tense situation more straightforward and civil.

Wherever possible, agreement should be reached outside the court arena.  Court proceedings can become costly and, in many situations, can deplete the assets that the parties are disputing.

If the agreement is reached outside of court proceedings, then the parties should sign and lodge a consent order setting out the terms of the agreement.  The court will then consider the consent order and either approve or dismiss it.


In some cases, it’s not possible to reach agreement without the court’s help.  When this happens, one party will make an application to the court.

Before the first hearing, you will be asked to provide disclosure of your finances.  Disclosure between the parties of their respective financial circumstances is usually by way of a document known as a Form E.  This document will confirm each parties’ income and capital assets, and outgoings, as well as what they are seeking in future.  This disclosure assists the parties in understanding the other’s circumstances and offers and counteroffers can be made based upon this information as well as giving the court a good understanding of your finances to make a reasonable decision.

The first hearing is known as a First Directions Appointment (FDA).  This is where the court checks that all the finances have been disclosed and decides whether a valuation of any assets (i.e. property, cars etc…) or any other evidence is needed.

The second hearing is known as a Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing (FDR).   This is where the court will hear a summary of the parties’ positions and will give guidance as to what the likely outcome would be at trial and as to how reasonable each party’s position is.  An FDR is an opportunity for parties to agree matters.   During the FDR, it will be the parties who make the decisions regarding their finances not the Judge.  The Judge can speak freely and express views that can help negotiations.  If the matter can’t be resolved the Judge dealing with the FDR will play no further part in the case.

If parties still cannot resolve their dispute, then it comes down to the Final Hearing.   This is where a Judge (different from the FDR) will hear all disclosure and make a final decision.  This decision may be different to what the parties would have wanted but ultimately will focus on any children of the family, to ensure that they are provided for and that both parties are reasonably housed.


As you can see resolving your financial matters, even when non-contentious, can take several months of back-and-forth paperwork and negations.   Getting good and effective legal advice at the beginning of your matter can help you make the important choices you need to reach a fair and reasonable resolution to your finances.


Our family law solicitors are here to help navigate you through the difficult financial process and work with you to get a reasonable division of your assets.  Call us today to see how we can help.


Legal aid may be available to assist you in these areas of law.  Please contact one of our specialist team who will be able to assess your eligibility.

If you are not eligible for legal aid, then please contact us to discuss your options and to obtain a quote.  We offer flexible and competitive prices for all our privately paying clients.