Court Process

Finances on Divorce and Dissolution
Each party has a duty to the court and each other to be completely open and honest about financial matters. There is a standard form used for this in court proceedings called a Form E. You will be asked to complete this initially on your own and then it will be finalised by your solicitor after discussion with you. The Form E and all supporting documents has to be exchanged with your partner 5 weeks prior to the First Appointment (the first court hearing). After exchange further documents are prepared by your solicitor which will often include a Questionnaire – asking questions that have arisen as a result of the Form E from your partner – you should consider what questions you would like to ask which have arisen as a result of you reading the Form E – your solicitor will inform you if these are relevant or allowable.

The First Appointment
Both you and your partner and your legal representatives will be required to attend. If you are unable to attend the Judge will have to formally excuse your attendance. The Judge will consider the Forms E and the other documents and will usually make Directions such as:

- Whether all the questions have to be answered,and if so, by what date;
- Whether any assets such as your home or a business need to be valued, and if so, how;
- When the matter needs to come back to court for settlement options to be discussed or issues narrowed.

The FDR (Financial Dispute Resolution) Appointment
All parties must attend. The Judge is involved to assist the parties in reaching agreement and commenting on proposals put forward as to whether they are suitable or not. If an impasse is reached the Judge can often give an indication as to what he or she may think is an appropriate solution to try and assist the parties to move forward. Many cases are resolved at this stage.

If no settlement is reached then the matter will be listed for a final hearing. The Judge who presided over the FDR will not be allowed to hear the matter if it proceeds to final hearing.

The Final Hearing
Both parties have to give evidence and be cross examined by their partner’s legal representative. Once the Judge has heard all the evidence – which can take several hours or days depending on the complexity of the case, and can include expert witnesses as well as the parties – he or she will then make a detailed decision as to the division of the assets. The Judge has to give reasons for his or her decision – in case one party wishes to appeal.

Finances When you Are Splitting Up after Living Together 

Unlike married couples or those in a Civil Partnership the applicable remedies are spread over many different areas of law and can be complicated. The application must be made under the Civil Procedure Rules and are not Family Proceedings. The hearings are far more formal and there are likely to be costs implications that do not arise in Financial proceedings relating to Divorce or Dissolution. The main remedies that would be sought are:

- A declaration as to the ownership of the property and the percentage share of each part
- A sale of a property


If you require any assistance in relation to financial matters that have arisen on the breakdown of your relationship then please contact us on 0191 213 1010 or on