I would be very grateful if anyone could advise me as to what happens at a 'First Appointment' at court...
I have to attend court along with my S2BX on 4th Feb... and have absolutely no idea what happens, or what issues are addressed....
My sol has told me that it is basically a case where a judge decides if all the paperwork is in order to proceed towards a 'FDR'.... and, if not, he/she can order that 'paperwork' is presented by a certain date etc....
What would happen if my S2BX does not turn up at this hearing? (I have a suspicion that he may not)....
I have applied for ancillary relief.... although I work (two part time jobs)... my income is pitiful compared to his.... will anything be addressed regarding this at all?
Any thoughts/comments/advice would be very much appreciated, as I am totally unprepared as to what to expect...
Firstly your H has been oredered to attend and so if he fails to turn up and i assume he will not be represented then the Court will be able to make progress...in that event your solr will seek an adjournment and a penal notice will be added to the order compelling his attendance. Essentially the order would then be delivered to him personally and if he fails to attend next time the Court will hold him in contempt of court and could send him to prison!
He would be ordered to pay your solrs costs of and incidental to the application in any event such costs are usually assessed on the day-they could be c £750.
Now in the usual financial case where form E's have been filed and served
The next steps are:
Each side files questionnaires asking relevant questions about the others finances and s 25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 factors
potential partners assets/inc etc
and many other relevant factors
Fishing expeditions are not allowed and the District Judge (DJ) will regulate what are essential Q's to ask.
Both parties file a few week before 1st Appt
Chronology -relevant date of events in marriage
Concise statement of issues
Form G which states whether the 1st Appt can/cannot proceed as an FDR (Financial Dispute Resolution) hearing
In most cases it is NOT usual to use the hrg as an FDR
why because the parties by then often have not:
Agreed property value so a Joint valuation will be needed
Questionnaires not answered or answered properly
Inf is missing from form E say Pension reply
Essential docs attached to form E is miissing eg bank statements
or if either party wants to use the hrg as an FDR both parties have not made an offer of settlement.
The hrg is usually a short affair when the DJ make directions that is an order which tells both parties what to do and when the FDR will be.
Most cases settle at the FDR as both parties will amke offers and the Dj will try to indicate what a fair settlement should be...so one or both parties often have to move their positions to achieve a settlement.
Now in a relatively simple case one can save quite a lot of costs if you can use the 1st Appointment as an FDR. Get the solrs to ensure valuations are done asap if necc and only ask really relevant Q's!!
Unfortunately if H is burying his head in the sand this strategy may fall on deaf ears.
Now if H is not paying enough voluntary maintenance (either directly or in the bills he pays) your solr will set out in a letter you needs and the shortfall and give him say 7 days to agree to a consent Mntce order -if not an application for interim Maintence can be made.
This is usually an urgent 20-30 min hrg and if you get mntce he will likely have to apy the costs.
Nothing like hitting a spouse who burries head in the sand with a costs order as it brings reality and often a desire to settle without any MORE messing about.
Now an int Mtce order could be applied for at the 1st Appt if there is adequate Crt time -the only disadvantage is H may get away with a costs order against him as the crt may say progress was made anyway at the hrg which had to take place in any event. Also if there is an urgent fin need it likely can't wait till Feb 8th.