Ancillary Relief in Divorce: Help with Division of Assets
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When a marriage or civil partnership breaks down, divorce is quite often the only way forward for a couple. In this case, a divorce petition will be submitted by one parties’ solicitor, initiating divorce proceedings.
Divorcing couples will usually have to deal with the division of finances and assets; sometimes a couple may deal with this issue themselves, or with the help of a mediator. It is important to note that decisions made between parties are not binding unless they have been filed and sealed by a judge at court. Occasionally, divorcing parties to the marriage may need the Court’s assistance to help them reach an agreement as to the division of assets, this is called ancillary relief.
What is ancillary relief?
Ancillary relief refers to a process which is related to divorce proceedings where the divorced couple deal with the division of assets and resolve any financial disputes. Ancillary relief proceedings are not dealt with during divorce proceedings as they are a separate matter; however, they may run at the same time as the divorce proceedings.
The court will decide how finances and assets will be divided, and the court order may include arrangements for the division of assets such as:
- Division and transfers of property, such as the matrimonial home
- Pension arrangements
Periodical payments, such as child maintenance payments may also be included within the order.
Filing for ancillary relief
Applying for ancillary relief is usually done with the help of a divorce solicitor. Applications for ancillary relief should be done by completing a “Form A” and sending it to the court. Within the form, the type of ancillary relief you are seeking will be detailed, and you should also include whether any pension agreements will be included on the financial order.
There are three stages to ancillary relief proceedings:
- You will be required to attend an appointment, which is a short hearing, with a judge to discuss your application
- You will be required to attend a financial dispute resolution appointment. You may be able to reach a settlement at this appointment without having to attend the final hearing.
- If you cannot come to an agreement, a final hearing will be required and the judge will decide how finances are to be split.
Who can apply?
Either party to a divorce can apply for ancillary relief, whether they are the applicant or the respondent to a divorce.
How much does ancillary relief cost?
There is a court fee in the sum of £275 which must be paid. You will also be required to pay the fees for your solicitor. Most of the solicitors on our panel will charge a fixed fee for their services. This will be discussed with you before you agree to proceed with your case.
In some circumstances, such as in cases that involve domestic abuse, legal aid may be available for ancillary relief proceedings.
What will the court consider when making an order for ancillary relief?
The court will look at a number of factors when making an Order for ancillary relief. These may include:
- Assets of each party
- Age of each party
- Earning potential of each party
- Living expenses of each party
- Standards of living
- Financial responsibilities and needs
- Health conditions or disabilities
- Role within the family
The judge will attempt to meet everyone’s needs and will try to ensure the decision is as fair as possible. The reason for the divorce will not be a factor in determining how assets are split between a divorcing couple.
During ancillary relief proceedings, the court will aim for a clean break so that parties can move on with their lives as quickly as possible.
What type of orders can be made?
A number of different orders can be made during ancillary relief. These may include:
- Pension sharing orders – To ensure each party has equal rights at retirement age, a judge may order the sharing or transfer of pensions between the parties.
- Maintenance orders – The court may order that one party to the divorce makes periodic maintenance payments to the other.
- Lump sum orders – The court may order that one party makes a lump sum payment to the other. On some occasions, this may be made alongside a maintenance order.
- Transfer of property order – Transfer of property orders may concern the transfer of tenancy properties or the transfer of shares in a company.
- Consent order – When an agreement has been reached between parties relating to the division of assets and finances, a consent order will be made and filed by the court, documenting the agreement.
How can Expert Family Law's panel of divorce solicitors help with ancillary relief?
Our panel of solicitors can deal with all aspects of a divorce, including ancillary relief and the splitting of assets between parties to a divorce. The breakdown of a marriage is never easy, and we aim to ensure the process of obtaining ancillary relief is as stress free as possible.
We ensure that the divorce solicitors on our panel have the skills and experience required to assist on your legal case. We can assure you that your case will be dealt with in a compassionate and understanding manner.
The solicitors on our panel can assist you through the process of divorce, including the application, as well as assisting you with child arrangements, financial settlements and ancillary relief following the termination of your marriage.
Get in touch today using the form at the top of the page to find out if a divorce solicitor from our panel could help on your case.
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