As we have often advised here, anyone involved in financial remedy proceedings on divorce should make every reasonable effort to settle the case by agreement, to avoid the time, stress and expense of contested proceedings. However, it has not been compulsory to put forward settlement proposals, at least until shortly before any final hearing.
A new rule due to come into effect on the 6th of July will impose a duty upon parties to financial remedy proceedings to put forward settlement proposals at a much earlier stage in the case.
Shortly after a financial remedies application has been issued, and after both parties have made full disclosure of their means, the court will fix a Financial Dispute Resolution appointment (‘FDR’). The purpose of the FDR is to provide the parties with an opportunity to negotiate a final financial settlement, with the input and assistance of a judge.
The new rule provides that where the case has not been settled at the FDR the court can direct that the parties put forward open settlement proposals, by such date as the court directs. If the court does not make a direction, then the proposals must be put forward within 21 days after the date of the FDR appointment.
Family Law Cafe welcomes the new rule, in so far as it may lead to more cases being settled sooner. However, parties should obviously only be compelled to put forward settlement proposals once they have sufficient information to ascertain their entitlement, including information about the other party’s means, and valuations of all relevant assets.
If you are involved in financial remedy proceedings Family Law Cafe can assist. To book a free initial consultation with us click the green button at the top of this page and fill in the form, or call us on 020 3904 0506.
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