Those are great questions as many people assume that if they have an agreement with their ex-spouse that they don’t need a Financial Court Order or they are worried about the cost of getting a Court Order. In most situations you do need the protection of an Order. You may also need the Court document to implement what you have agreed, such as the sharing of a pension. Financial Court Orders are not as expensive as you might think.
Broken down into stages, to obtain a Financial Court Order you have to:
- Check there is an agreement that is capable of being made into a Financial Court Order;
- Check the Court has the power to make a Financial Court Order – the Court can normally make a Court Order provided that you have obtained your Decree Nisi of divorce. Don’t worry if you haven’t got your Decree Nisi yet or the divorce proceedings were finalised many years ago as you should still be able to get a Court Order;
- Swap a document called a Statement of Financial Information so that you both know what you each have – the Court insists that you do this and won’t approve a Financial Court Order unless you and your ex-spouse both see and sign the Statement of Financial Information summarising what you own and earn;
- Check that any relevant third parties are ok with the agreement , for example the mortgage company if a house and mortgage are going to be transferred into one spouse’s name or a pension administrator if a pension is going to be shared;
- Draw up a draft Court Order and exchange it with your ex-spouse or their solicitor and make any changes needed;
- Send the draft Order to any relevant third parties, such as a pension administrator, for approval:
- Once the draft Order and Statement of Financial Information have been signed off send them and the Court fee to the Court for a judge to look at and for him or her to decide whether or not to make the agreed Order – in the vast majority of cases the judge will make the Order requested if the Order has been properly prepared and the Statement of Financial Information explains why the Order has been agreed upon;
- Answer any questions the Court may have on the proposed Court Order;
- When the Order is approved by the Court send the Order in for sealing by the Court and once the sealed Order is received send it to any relevant third parties, such as a pension administrator or financial advisor or property solicitor if the Financial Court Order includes pensions , investment transfers or the transfer of property;
- Make sure that Decree Absolute of divorce is obtained as without that the Financial Court Order can’t be enforced;
- If the Financial Court Order includes spousal maintenance check and diary up review dates for increases in line with retail price index rises or end dates and make sure everything in the Financial Court Order has been implemented, such as the taking out of life insurance or changes to a pension nomination.
That list may look exhausting but as a specialist family finance lawyer my job is to convert agreements into Financial Court Orders. At Evolve Family Law we recognise that if you have reached a financial agreement you want expert legal advice from an approachable solicitor to get the Financial Court Order BUT you don’t want to hang around while lawyers get out their fountain pens to prepare financial court paperwork and then pass it back and forth by mail between spouses and solicitors.
Evolve uses technology to standardise and speed up the process of drafting family Court Orders, and as importantly, to make the obtaining of a Financial Court Order more cost-effective and value for money for you.
It is the combination of experience and technology that means Evolve Family Law are able to offer transparent pricing and fixed fees for Financial Court Orders. We are proud to say that we are one of the first law firms in the country to publish our fees online in a handy user friendly guide without hidden extras. That’s because the quoted fees include VAT and Court fees. Some Financial Court Orders are more complicated than others, especially where there are businesses or trusts involved, and in other situations you may not be able to reach a financial agreement and so need advice on the financial Court process. Whatever the situation you find yourself in, Evolve Family Law can help with friendly approachable expert advice combined with transparent costs. The first step is to have a no charge call with you (for up to 30 minutes) to work out what we can do for you.
For information on converting an agreement into a Financial Court Order and fees please give me a call on +44 (0) 1477 464020 or contact me by email at [email protected]