These are abbreviated answers for assistance and general guidance and this does not replace good legal advice.
What can they be used for?
- Questions you might like to ask your solicitor. It is always difficult to remember what to ask.
- By reading the answers you might think of other questions which might be important in your case.
- You can make wise decisions before you go down the route of divorce and financial division of your assets.
- Most websites give large sections of prose writing, questions and answers are a good way of finding your way through this complex area and can help get rid of any misconceptions.
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If you would like a free assessment of financial matters, please complete the CONFIDENTIAL FINANCIAL QUESTIONNAIRE, and email it to us. One of our Solicitors will phone you with our opinion. Please note this is an initial assessment based on the information you have given us.
Please also read carefully our notice on giving legal advice, Click here.
Questions and Answers
1.What is Ancillary Relief?
This is the name given to the financial proceedings brought between spouses either during or after Divorce.
2.How do you start financial proceedings?
Your divorce/judicial separation proceedings must have started as the case number used for the financial proceedings is the same. You start with Form A and a Court fee of £255 plus Legal Costs.
3.What are the alternatives to starting financial proceedings?
4.Why should my solicitor be a member of Resolution, previously known as the Solicitors Family Law Association?
They are usually experts in family law, they adhere to a non-confrontational approach which can save you money and will avoid unnecessary acrimonious letters toing and froing between the solicitors, saving you legal costs.
5.When should I be dealing with the financial matters with my spouse?
This should be done immediately, as it will take time to deal with the practicalities. But you can only issue financial proceedings (as a final order can only be granted/sealed) after the decree Nisi.
6.My wife and I want to wait to deal with the finances, we only want to separate now.
How about dealing with a separation agreement? This is an outline of your intention as to the finances, the divorce and the children. This can be helpful if you want to separate but do not want to go through the court proceedings now.
7.We have agreed all the finances, do we still have to go to court?
If you both have agreed on a sensible financial division, you should still both have independent legal advice. You should also disclose to each other your respective finances. You can deal with a final agreement (also called a consent order) without going to court.
8.Helping you with the Form E –
At Garner & Hancock, we help you complete the Form E so that you do not prejudice your case. Click here for our full Article
9.We have agreed all the finances and the divorce. Can we use one solicitor?
Solicitors cannot act if there is a potential conflict of interest. A solicitor could act but must cease to do so in the following circumstances:
- If he/she believes that each has different interests or that one party is at a disadvantage,
- If one person’s needs requires more protection than the other,
- If one of you asks a question that could prejudice the other
Therefore, it is better to have separate solicitors so that each can ask the solicitor freely whether the agreement reached is a fair one.
10.My spouse has stopped maintenance, what should I do?
- Start proceedings called Maintenance Pending Suit, which deals with maintenance until the final order is dealt with.
- Start full-blown financial proceedings so that a decision on the overall finances is also made.
- Go to Mediation, or use the collaborative law to assist in the negotiations.
11.Can I buy a house whilst all my divorce and financial proceedings are going on?
Yes, there is nothing stopping you from doing this; it would not prejudice you in moving on with your life. However, you should be aware of the following:
- Your purchase will be scrutinised that it meets your reasonable needs,
- You will need to show documents such as your mortgage application, and loans you applied for to show how much money you could raise or where you got the deposit from.
12.Can my spouse acquire any interest in this property as a result of the financial relief proceedings?
The simple answer is that all the assets are included. You should speak to your solicitor as to any strategic reasons for such a decision. Timing can be everything on such a purchase.
13. Should I close all joint accounts?
You should make arrangements that outgoings are all met from either a single or joint account, otherwise, your credit ratings may be affected to make it difficult to get future loans/mortgage. Joint accounts/whether a current account or credit cards can cause problems if the other spouse is not responsible.
If you suspect he/she may take money, not for the benefit of the family then such accounts should be closed and the bank informed of the impending divorce.
14.Can I only pay half the mortgage as my spouse should be responsible?
No, you discuss this with your spouse. You could both adversely affect your credit rating which in turn could have disastrous consequences on your ability to get another mortgage or credit.
If you are struggling, check your benefits situation or make an application for financial support from your spouse by way of Periodical Payments Order.
15.Whom should I inform when I am going through divorce proceedings?
- The Benefits office as it may affect Tax credits – are you getting the correct money?
- Child Benefit Office – payment to the correct parent.
- Banks/buildings Societies – to avoid any difficulties with joint accounts.
- Credit Card companies if in joint names.
- Mortgage company if payment becomes irregular or from two accounts.
- Employers, as you will need to take time off to see solicitors and attend hearing dates.
- IFA (to find out your mortgageability).
16.What further advice should I get when I am dealing with the financial aspects of the divorce?
- Your accountant, about tax planning and raising money.
- IFA, to find out about your mortgageability (how much you raise from banks and building societies).
- Pension provider or specialist.
- Counselling to make the adjustment easier. Do not underestimate such advice; it makes the whole process so much less painful.
- Advice from family and friends. But be careful to avoid relying on anecdotal advice “in my divorce I got…..”
17.Am I allowed to take my spouse’s financial documents without their knowing?
If you do this, then this should be disclosed to your solicitor who will let the other side know. These documents are known as Hildebrand documents. Be careful; the following could be a criminal offence or could lead to civil penalties
- You must not open the other spouse’s post.
- You cannot bug the telephone.
- Opening letters or correspondence from your spouse’s solicitors.
- Showing private documents during the financial proceedings to others including the press.
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GARNER & HANCOCK SOLICITORS are members of the Solicitors Family Law Association – Resolution. We specialise in effectively negotiating your Matrimonial Financial issues.
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