The Form A is used to apply to court for a financial settlement relating to divorce.
It is used in two main situations:
1) Agreement Reached - Where a couple have agreed a financial settlement then Form A is sent to court along with a Consent Order and a D81 Statement of Information to request that the court to review and approve the Consent Order.
2) Unable to Agree - Where a couple are unable to agree on a settlement then either party may decide to take the matter to court. They do this by submitting Form A which will lead to the court holding a series of live court hearings to decide the case.
How to complete this form
1. You need to complete this form if you want to ask the court to make one or more of the orders shown on page 1. You must tick the relevant boxes on page 1 to indicate the nature of your application and the type(s) of order you are seeking.
2. Pages 1 to 3 set out the core information you need to provide if you wish to make an application to the court. You or your solicitor must also sign and date Section 5 of this form.
3. If you are applying for an order by consent you should tick the box on page 1 to make this clear and attach the draft order with this application. Requirement to attend a Mediation, Information and Assessment Meeting
4. It is now a legal requirement that, unless an exemption applies, a person who wishes to apply to court for a financial order must first attend a Mediation, Information and Assessment Meeting (a MIAM). At the stage before proceedings the other party (the respondent) is expected to attend either the same MIAM or a separate MIAM.
5. At the MIAM, a trained family mediator will give you (the applicant) and the other person if present (the respondent) information about family mediation and other types of non-court dispute resolution. They will consider with you whether non-court dispute resolution would be an appropriate way to resolve the dispute. It is then for the applicant and respondent to decide whether or not to do so.
6. The requirement for the applicant to attend a MIAM does not apply if a financial order is being applied for and the other person (respondent) is in agreement about what you are asking the court to order (the order is a “consent order”).
7. You or your solicitor must tick the relevant box in Section 2 of this form so that the court knows whether the MIAM requirement applies, whether an exemption applies (and why) or whether you have attended a MIAM.
MIAM exemptions and MIAM attendance
8. As the applicant you are expected to have contacted an authorised family mediator in order to make arrangements to attend a MIAM unless :
• the MIAM requirement does not apply for the reason explained at paragraph 6 of these notes, or
• you are claiming a MIAM exemption, or a family mediator certifies that a mediator’s exemption applies.
9. You can find an authorised family mediator by using the ‘Find your local mediator’ search facility available at: www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk
10. You should give the mediator the contact details of the other person so that the family mediator can contact them to check their willingness to attend a MIAM. If the other persons (or none of the other persons if there is more than one respondent) are unwilling to attend a MIAM this is a ground for the family mediator to exempt you from attending a MIAM.
11. If you or your solicitor believe that you have grounds for claiming exemption from MIAM attendance you or your solicitor must tick the relevant box in Section 2 of this form and complete Section 3.
12. If a family mediator wishes to certify that a mediator’s exemption applies, so that you do not need to attend a MIAM, you must ask the family mediator to complete Section 4a of this form and sign it where shown.
13. If you have attended a MIAM you must ask the family mediator who conducted the MIAM to complete Section 4b of this form and sign it where shown.
14. If you claim a MIAM exemption and make an application to the court, the court will inquire into the grounds for exemption. The court may ask you to produce written evidence (see Section 3 of this form for details against each exemption shown).
15. If the court determines that the exemption was not validly claimed it may direct you, or you and the other party, to attend a MIAM and, if the case has already progressed to the first hearing, may adjourn the case to enable you to make arrangements to attend a MIAM.
16. The detailed procedure relating to the MIAM requirement and MIAM exemptions and attendance is set out in Part 3 of the Family Procedure Rules and in supporting Practice Direction 3A (judicial guidance). These are available online at: www.justice. gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/family/practice_ directions/pd_part_03a
Paying for MIAM attendance or for family mediation
17. Legal aid is available for MIAMs and for family mediation. If you are eligible for legal aid you could receive both the MIAM and mediation sessions free of charge, as well as some advice from a solicitor to support you in the mediation process. 15
18. If you, or the prospective respondent, is eligible for Legal Aid then the total cost of MIAM attendance can be met by the Legal Aid Agency, whether you and the prospective respondent attend the same MIAM or separate MIAMs.
19. If neither you nor the respective respondent is eligible for Legal Aid then the mediator will agree with you how the cost of MIAM attendance is to be met.
20. Please refer to paragraph 29 for further details on how you can find out whether you are eligible for Legal Aid by using the calculator tool available at www.gov.uk/legal-aid
Safety and MIAM attendance
21. Please note: the family mediator will discuss with you and with the other person whether you wish to attend the MIAM separately or together. Family mediators have a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all concerned and will always check with each of you that attending together is your individual choice and is safe.
Information about mediation
22. If suitable, mediation can be a better way of resolving issues about financial arrangements when you or your partner petition for a matrimonial or civil partnership order. Mediation can be less expensive than going to court and much less stressful for all the family.
23. Family Mediation is an impartial process that involves an independent third person who assists both parties involved in a family dispute to reach a resolution. Family mediation can be used to settle any or all of the following issues:
• Financial arrangements and dividing up property
• Arrangements for children
• Any combination of these
• Any other disputes to do with separation and divorce.
24. The family mediator helps the process of negotiation between the parties to agree their own arrangements by way of a Memorandum of Understanding. You can ask a solicitor, if you have one, to check the Memorandum of Understanding.
25. If both parties agree, you can ask the court to endorse what you have agreed by issuing a consent order. The mediator will help you to decide whether your case is complicated and does in fact need the court to consider your situation and make an order. The mediator should also tell you about other local services and options for resolving your dispute.
26. A statutory Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is reserved for “authorised mediators” under the Family Procedure Rules. “Authorised family mediator” means a person identified by the Family Mediation Council as qualified to conduct a MIAM. “Qualified to conduct a MIAM” is interpreted as holding current Family Mediation Council accreditation (FMCA). FMCA mediators are issued with a unique FMC registration number. Authorised mediators are requested to enter this number in the box provided. Further information and sources of help
27. General information about family mediation is available from the Family Mediation Council website at: www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk
28. The family mediator who undertakes the MIAM for you must be a member of a national mediation organisation which adheres to the Family Mediation Council’s Code of Conduct and the mediator must be authorised to conduct MIAMs. The service finder will help you find such a local mediator.
29. You can find out more about legal aid for family matters, including whether you may eligible for legal aid on the Legal Aid Information Service on the Gov. UK site at: www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid or you can telephone the Civil Legal Advice direct helpline 0345 345 4345.
Don't forget to sign it!!!
Then send 3 copies of the form to the court with a cheque payable to HMCS for £210.