What is Ancillary Relief? Ancillary relief is the name used to describe the orders the court can make to resolve financial issues between the parties to divorce proceedings.
These proceedings are often the most complicated part of the divorce and can be costly and time consuming. It is worth having substantial legal advice in relation to financial matters. At Swayne Johnson, we have an experienced team who can help guide you through this often complex process.
When and who can make an application for Ancillary Relief? Only after the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi does the court have the power to make an order or approve an agreed consent order. There is also no time limit following divorce as to when you can apply for financial matters to be resolved by the court and either party could make an application many years after the Decree Absolute. If you are the Respondent and you are intending to marry again or form a Civil Partnership, you must start a financial claim at the court before you marry again as after that date you can no longer make an application for financial provision. If you are contemplating re-marriage, it is vitally important that you notify us as soon as possible.
Alternatives to Court
Court proceedings are not the only means of resolving disputes of this sort. Mediation and Collaborative Law are just two alternative methods. Mediation can assist you to reach decisions concerning both children issues and financial issues. If you are on a low income or benefits, you may qualify for Public Funding (Legal Aid) to cover all the costs of mediation as well as legal advice and help during mediation. You will be assessed at your first meeting. In this area, mediation is carried out by North Wales Family Mediation Service, whose offices are in Llandudno.
Collaborative law is where separating spouses work together with assistance and advice from their respective legal advisors to reach a dignified and fair settlement without recourse to the court. Swayne Johnson Solicitors are one of the few firms of solicitors here in North Wales & the Chester area who have collaboratively trained lawyers.
Costs are a very important part of ancillary relief proceedings. Costs on both sides may be thousands of pounds and will reduce what assets either party may have after the financial division. As a result, courts will make costs orders requiring one party to pay the costs of the other only in limited cases. The courts will expect both of the parties to do their upmost to reach a settlement and both sides have an interest in making realistic proposals. To fail to do so is to invite the possibility of a costs order to be made. Cases that are settled by negotiation will usually be on the basis that each party pays their own costs. This is not an absolute but it is usually sensible to approach the case on that basis.
You may be able to obtain ‘public funding’ (formerly known as legal aid) in respect of your costs in the proceedings. This does not enable a party to avoid paying costs at all, the Legal Services Commission are entitled to recover the costs incurred on behalf of a party with the benefit of public funding from any money or property preserved or recovered. We will discuss with you whether or not you are likely to be eligible for public funding and explain the process in more detail.
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