Sunday, 10 December 2017

DIY Financial Remedy Consent Orders: Templates

https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/publications/practice-guidance-standard-financial-and-enforcement-orders/\

The above link could be invaluable to you. Click on it and you will find what the top family law judge for England and Wales has to say about the template orders available for financial cases following marriage and civil partnership break ups. In particular, the link will take you to those templates. What is likely to be of special interest are the templates which can be used where the parties have reached an agreement about what is to happen post-divorce or dissolution in respect of sharing of property, income, pensions and Spotty the Dog.

The agreement should be incorporated in an order of the court for a variety of reasons: most important is that without an order either side could attempt to wriggle out of the arrangement at some time in the future and so no order risks uncertainty. The proposed order has to be submitted to the court and will only be approved and made by a judge if they are satisfied that it achieves fairness for both sides. The court will require completion of  a shortish form giving a summary of each side's finances and intentions about future living arrangements and other relationships.

If you or your spouse or partner have been represented by a lawyer in negotiations then the lawyer will draft the order. Perhaps you thrashed out the agreement without lawyers. In that event, you can go to a lawyer just to draft the order. One lawyer each is the ideal but it is possible for one lawyer to do the drafting at the request of one side and for the other side to satisfy themselves about its contents without legal help. The same lawyer must not advise both sides on the draft document. There are  non-lawyer firms who will do the drafting at a lower price than a lawyer would charge. The preference should be to get a lawyer to do what is necessary.

Drafting an order without any professional assistance to either side is the last resort. Something of importance could easily be left out or the wording you adopt might lead to the wrong interpretation of the wording and so unintended consequences.  However, if  the money just 'aint there to engage a professional, you can have a stab at a DIY draft order but utilising one of the templates the top judge likes so much. If the judge who considers it reckons the arrangement is unfair or there is some ambiguity in what you say, you will hear more from the court and have the opportunity to put things right.

You'll find plenty in my book Breaking Law (here he goes again!) about finances on breaking up and many other aspects of matrimonial law. Why not buy a copy as a Christmas present for your other half? It may lead to a reconciliation.