Help & Support with Financial Orders
Below you will find a wealth of information on the subject of financial orders, if you would like to be connected to an expert, please fill in the form to your right and we will respond as soon as possible.
What is a Financial Order
If your marriage or civil partnership has come to an end, then there will often be financial decisions to be made regarding the family home, how to divide up savings, possessions, property and pensions. If you have any children, there will also be the matter of child maintenance to consider.
If you are unable to agree on how these assets are to be divided, then you may be left with no other option but to apply for a financial order through the courts. If you are able to agree on how you wish to divide your assets, then the court can also approve this agreement.
Applying for a Financial Order
You can approach the court to help you decide how you will split up your money, property and possessions. To do this you must apply for a financial order. This process is sometimes referred to as ‘ancillary relief’.
Going through this process will take time and cost you money. If possible, it’s a very good idea to try and settle things between yourselves.
Before you make a financial order application, you should check if mediation could help you reach an agreement. You can do this by having a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. In most cases, judges will expect you to have had at least one of these meetings. If you haven’t, they may ask you to before proceeding with your case.
To make your financial order application you must fill in a ‘Notice for an application for a financial order’. You can download a copy by clicking here
You then need to take your application, along with two completed copies of the form, to the court where your divorce is being dealt with.
You may have to pay a court fee to make an application for a financial order. The court fee is £240 if you and your husband, wife or civil partner have not agreed to the arrangements before you make the application.
If you’re applying for ‘consent order’ (a legal document that confirms an agreement you have already made) then the court fee is just £50.
If you’re on a low income or on benefits, you may be able to get a reduction on the fees.
Once you have made your application for a financial order, you will be given an appointment with a judge. This is known as the ‘First Appointment’. This appointment will be between 12 and 16 weeks from when you first made your application.
What happens at the First Appointment?
Both parties usually have to attend the First Appointment in person. You will meet with a judge who will tell you how the case can be settled.
At this stage, if both parties and the judge agree, the judge can issue a ‘Final Order’. If there is no agreement, you will have to attend a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing.
What happens at the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing?
This is an informal meeting at court, but both parties must attend unless the court orders otherwise. The judge will again try to help you reach a financial agreement.
If you are still unable to reach an agreement, the judge will decide a date for a final hearing.
What happens at the final hearing?
The judge at the final hearing will not be the same judge who was at the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing.
At the final hearing, if you still can’t reach agreement, the judge will make a decision based on all the evidence. This decision will be shown on a ‘Final Order’ giving details of any arrangements that have to be made as part of the order. Both parties have to obey this decision.
If you have any questions regarding financial orders or if you would like help in applying for one please telephone 0333 2070 601
Adoption by a Step Parent
If you are seeking to adopt a child of your partner you are likely to have different concerns than many other people who choose to adopt in quite different circumstances. Unfortunately there is little help available to step families and those considering taking this step, although this is improving.
There are very many children who live within step-families. For most there will never be an occasion when it is in their best interest to be adopted by their parents partner. If you are considering this option for a child you should look at your current situation, and why this might be in the child’s best interests to be changed. Remember also, that merely applying for an adoption order could change things. For example, if the other parent of the child/ren is not currently in contact with them, they may respond to your application for an adoption order by renewing their contact, often temporarily, as a reaction to this. In such cases the well-being of the child, who faces the prospect of a second parting from one of their parents in the near future, may be harmed.
Frequently asked questions
I would like my new partner to adopt my child
The first issue that many adults tend to forget is that adoption is about, and for children. What adults want is relevant but the court will not consider this to be an over-riding concern when it comes to making a decision.
Although it is quite natural for you to feel that your family will only be complete if the child were to be adopted by your new partner there are some who would suggest that there are other legal alternatives to adoption that should be considered fully.
I have recently married my partner
You no longer need to be married to adopt the child/ren of your partner.
Do I have to get the other parents agreement to the adoption?
If the other parent is the mother:
You will need her agreement. A court can dispense with the need for her agreement but there have to be very good reasons for them to do so.
If the other parent is the father and he was married to the child’s mother:
You will need his agreement. A court can dispense with the need for his agreement but there have to be very good reasons for them to do so. .
If the other parent is the father and he has parental responsibility:
You will need his agreement. A court can dispense with the need for his agreement but there have to be very good reasons for them to do so.
Parental Responsibility is usually only obtained in one of four ways:
- By obtaining a residence order from a court stating the child lives with them
- By having a parental responsibility agreement
- By being appointed guardian to care for the child if a parent dies
- By adopting the child
If the other parent is the father but he was not married to the child’s mother, nor has he obtained parental responsibility for them.
No. His agreement is not required. Parental Responsibility is usually only obtained in one of four ways:
- By obtaining a residence order from a court stating the child lives with them,
- By having a parental responsibility agreement,
- By being appointed guardian to care for the child if a parent dies,
- By adopting the child.
Will the other parent have to be involved?
Irrespective of the birth parents legal status the court will require a report (Schedule 2) to be compiled and wherever possible the wishes of both birth parents will be ascertained and what role they might intend to play in the future in respect of the child. Your current relationship with him or her, or the amount of contact they have with the child will not remove the responsibility for finding out their views, and reporting them back to the court.
But I do not know where the other parent is
You will have to provide the court with all the relevant information in order for others to try to contact them. They may also be unable to do so and will complete their report stating that this is the case.
But the other parent has not been in contact with their child
This is not a reason for the social worker compiling the Schedule 2 report not to try to ascertain their wishes in respect of any application to adopt.
But the other parent has not recently / never paid child maintenance.
This is irrelevant. The court will still need to find out their opinions on the proposed adoption.
The other parent will never agree to the adoption
The court can dispense with the need for their agreement but there have to be very good reasons for doing so. When applying for the adoption order you can make a statement of fact. You will have to give the grounds for this request. These ‘grounds’ should be one or more of the following:
- The parent or guardian cannot be found or is incapable of giving agreement;
- The parent or guardian is withholding his agreement unreasonably;
- The parent or guardian has persistently failed without reasonable cause to discharge his parental responsibility for the child;
- The parent or guardian has abandoned or neglected the child;
- The parent or guardian has persistently ill-treated the child;
For further assistance regarding adoption please feel free to telephone us on 0333 2070 601 or visit the contact us page.
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