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Finances on divorce or dissolution: when do I need to issue a Form A and what happens next? Q&A

Learn about Form A and its role in financial applications on divorce. We explain when to issue a Form A, how to complete it, and what happens next.

What is Form A?

A Form A, also known as a Notice of intention to proceed with a financial application, is the form which needs to be completed when you are applying for a financial order after your marriage or civil partnership has broken down.

A financial order can include applications for the following:

  • an order for maintenance pending suit (interim maintenance)
  • lump sum order
  • property adjustment order
  • a settlement or transfer of property for the benefit of the child(ren)
  • periodical payments order
  • pension sharing order
  • pension compensation order.

When do I need to issue a Form A?

If you are not able to reach an agreement by consent or using alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, either you or your spouse can make a formal application to the court for a financial order by filing a Form A.

You need to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before proceedings can be issued. There are exemptions to the requirement to attend a MIAM, for example if the marriage or civil partnership has an element of domestic abuse.

How do I complete a Form A?

A Form A can be obtained from website. You can complete a Form A yourself, but we would recommend seeking legal advice to ensure the form is completed correctly.

In short, the following steps are required for completed of Form A:

  1. Obtain a copy of blank Form A
  2. Collect the information you need for the Form A
  3. Answer all sections that apply to you
    1. The first and second pages require you to confirm the parties’ names and what orders you are applying for.
    2. Section 1 requires all background information such as
      1. the address and mortgagee details of all the properties owned by you and your spouse
      2. relevant details regarding the children, if appropriate,
      3. both parties' contact details or their legal representatives' details.
    3. Sections 2 – 4 require confirmation as to whether MIAM was attended and if not, mark the relevant exemptions.
    4. Section 5 requires the form to be signed and dated.
  4. Check that your contact details are correct. If you want to keep your contact details confidential from the other side, record these in a separate Form C8 and do not include them in Form A.
  5. Send 3 copies of the form with the correct court fee to the same divorce centre that is dealing with or has dealt with your divorce. Court fees can change so you should check what the current fee is before sending your application. If you are on benefits or on a low income you may not have to pay the fee, or you can apply to have all or part of it refunded by completing Form EX160A.
  6. Your spouse will receive a copy of your Form A from the court once it has been processed by the court, together with the court order setting out the next steps and dates for a First Appointment.

What happens after I submit my Form A?

The court will issue and serve the proceedings upon your partner (called the respondent) directly or their legal representative.

The court will confirm the date for the exchange of Forms E (financial disclosure) and other documentation which needs to be filed at court.

There are generally three stages, and possible court hearings which take place, but the parties are able to reach a settlement at any point during the proceedings.

For more information, read our guide to financial remedy proceedings.

Financial Remedy Process

The first hearing is known as the First Appointment (FDA). This is often referred to as a ‘housekeeping’ hearing for the judge to establish what further information is required before the parties are able to negotiate, including whether any expert evidence is required such as valuations of properties or businesses, or a pension report.

The second hearing is called a Financial Dispute Resolution appointment (FDR). By this point, the parties should have all the evidence they require in order to negotiate a financial settlement. The judge at this hearing will provide guidance to the parties as to what a fair settlement would consist of. The judge at this hearing cannot impose a decision on either party and cannot deal with the final hearing.

The third hearing is ‘the Final Hearing’. At the Final Hearing, the judge will hear submissions from the respective legal representatives involved in the case and the separating couple may be questioned on the evidence disclosed. If the separating couple cannot reach a settlement between themselves by this stage then the Judge will determine how the finances are to be dealt with. This will then be drawn up into a legally binding order.

An agreement can be reached at any time by filing a Consent Order.

How long does it take for my Form A to be approved?

Once a Form A application is lodged at the court, the application is usually issued within four weeks. There are significant delays in some courts so it could take longer.

The First Appointment is usually listed between 12 and 16 weeks from the date Form A is filed.

For further information on finances on divorce or dissolution, visit our dedicated page on financial settlements on divorce.

You can also use our divorce settlement calculator to see the issues that you need to consider based on your situation.

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