First hearing is later this month. I've sent my ex my Form E and paperwork but haven't had theirs and emails from my solicitor go un-answered. It can't be ok to simply ignore what the courts asked us to do, I've filled out my form to say that I am not in a position to proceed because there hasn't been full disclosure.
Has anyone experienced this, or knows what the likely outcome of this first hearing will be? I've got to take unpaid AL to attend court, and it feels like this is possibly going to be a waste of my time.
A combination of the current public-health situation, each judge having their own method of dealing with cases and the general rule that costs orders are not made in family cases means that nobody can tell you what will happen.
It is possible to make an application for a penal notice to be attached to the direction for filing and serving the Form E. However, that application will cost you money, you are not guaranteed to get the money back and the Courts are achingly slow at the moment which means that the hearing is likely to occur before the application is processed.
What you (or your solicitor) could do is write to the Court to highlight the lack of disclosure and send a copy to your ex. This will put the Court on notice but more importantly put your ex on notice that the Court is on notice that there is a non-compliance.
It would then be possible to seek an order that your wasted costs of attendance at the hearing be paid by your ex in the event that the hearing is adjourned to another date due to non-compliance.
Typically your solicitor would file and serve a statement of costs (form N260) with your ex and the Court at least 24 hours before the hearing and ask the Court for an order that your ex pay costs to reimburse you for the costs you had wasted with your solicitor.
None of this is guaranteed. The lack of consistency is one of the most frustrating things in family law.
Thank you for replying Charles. I thought the courts must be very busy as I first applied last November and this is only the first hearing.
I'm self representing and I have a solicitor on an advice basis for the moment - he said he thought I could handle the first bit myself as its a short hearing to set out a timeline I think. I've already got one default costs order for the divorce that my ex hasn't paid so I don't think another costs order would be of any major concern to him, I think the aim is to just string things out as long as possible.
I shall turn up as planned and see what the judge says!
An update to this...Ex attended and said he hadn't had sufficient time to file a form E but confirmed he was served with mine. Judge ruled Form E to be submitted the following week, followed by questionnaires and requests for more information a week later, adjourned the FDA to the end of this month with the intention of using it as an FDR as well. Stressed the importance of the exchange taking place, and urged us to come to an agreement prior to the hearing if at all possible.
Ex hasn't filed his form E, I've notified the court that I cant file a questionnaire because of this, no communication from the ex either. Written directions from the FDA haven't yet been provided as the courts are very short-staffed, so I don't know if a penal notice was attached or not.
I'm really frustrated that someone is allowed to abuse the court process like this. The judge made it clear in the FDA that he thought my ex was taking the mickey by not engaging and that court time could be better spent - which I totally agree with.