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Lady Margaret and Brent Cross Gardens Legal Centre can help you with procedures when making Financial Orders. In this article we discuss the issue of proceedings;

Applicants for a financial order may be classified into;

a) those who have included a prayer for a financial order in a petition or answer;
b) petitioners who have not included such a prayer in their petition;
c) respondents

Those in (a) may apply for a financial order. A party who has remarried may not apply for a financial order. However the application can me made in the petition or answer and so Form A does not have to precede any remarriage.

b) Those in (B) must apply for permission to make the application. If the decree nisi has not yet been pronounced , the appropriate method to apply for permission is to apply to the district judge for leave to amend the petitioon by including such a prayer. The amended petition must be re-served on the respondent unless he has already consented to the application. When the application to the court is for a consent order for ancillary relief, leave is not required.

If the application is made after decree nisi it must be made on notice to the respondent by filing Form A, supported by a statement explaining why the petition contained no such prayer. The application may be made at the trial of the application, but for obvious reasons, it is preferable to make the application well in advance.

Service and Parties
Once the Form A has been issued, the court serves it on the respondent within 4 days of the date of issue. The documents are sent either to the solicitors who are on the record as acting for the other party or to the party in person where no solicitor is acting for them. In certain circumstances, service may also be effected by DX or FAX. When the application is for a variation of settlement, a copy of the application must be served by the applicant on the trustees of the settlement and the settlor if living.

Where the application is for a property adjustment order, a copy of the application must be served by the applicant on any mortgagee or other person of whom particulars are given in the form. It is not necessary to serve a copy of the evidence in support, by any person so served may make a request in writing to the court, within 14 days after service, for a copy of the applicants Form E.

Filing of Evidence
Evidence is given by each party completing Form E. These forms must be filed at court and simultaneously exchanged not less than 35 days before the date of the FA. Form E is a comprehensive document which requires the parties to set out full details of the marriage, their children, their property and income and financial needs and obligations, and enables them to depose as to any specific MCA 1973, s 25 matter on which they rely. Form E is a statement verified by an affidavit. The information contained in Form E be all the information which the court will need in the majority of cases.

Form E must have attached to it any documents required by the form itself and any other documents necessary to clarify or explain any of the information contained in the form. It must also attach certain specified documents in relation to the party's pension arrangement or, where relevant, the pension protection fund.