Courts Documents

Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS), a branch of the Ministry of Justice, is tasked with delivering justice to the public in an efficient and effective manner.

For individuals navigating divorce, the HMCS website offers numerous free forms and informational leaflets, though finding specific resources may require some guidance. Among these resources are forms related to applying for a Financial Order, which is essential for resolving disputes over money or property during divorce, nullity, or judicial separation proceedings.

The process of obtaining a Financial Order, also known as ancillary relief, typically involves three stages: the First Appointment, Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR), and the Final Hearing. These stages help in settling financial disputes, with some cases resolving before reaching all three.

To initiate the process, one must complete and submit a Notice of Application (Form A) to the court handling their divorce or separation. A fee may apply, but court staff can provide information on fee exemptions or reductions.

Throughout the process, both parties are required to provide the court with updated cost estimates using Form H at every hearing. This assists the judge in making cost orders.

Upon submitting the application, the court schedules a First Appointment with a judge to review the case. Preparation involves both parties completing a financial statement (Form E), detailing their finances. This statement, along with other required documents, must be filed with the court and exchanged between the parties within specified deadlines.

The First Appointment allows the judge to give directions on proceeding with the case, potentially including a final order agreement, referral to an FDR hearing, or mediation. The FDR hearing aims to facilitate an agreement with the judge’s assistance.

If agreement is reached before the final hearing, parties can request the court to approve their draft order. In divorce or nullity proceedings, final orders related to finances are not made until the decree nisi is pronounced.

For interim financial issues before the final order, either party may apply for an interim order. Information on court facilities and procedures is available from the court office.

When it comes to children involved in the divorce, the court assesses the proposed arrangements for their care. This evaluation is part of ensuring that children’s needs are met post-divorce, with the court only intervening if it deems it better for the children than making no order at all.

Arrangements for children are detailed in Form D8A, with both parties encouraged to agree on care without court orders. However, if disagreements arise, the court may require further information or even mandate a welfare report to ensure the children’s best interests.

The court can make various orders regarding children, including residence, contact, prohibited steps, and specific issues orders, focusing on their well-being and safety.

For financial support for children, applications are generally directed to the Child Support Agency unless specific circumstances require court intervention. Court staff can advise on the appropriate steps based on individual cases.