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Filed for divorce - what happens next?

38 replies

numbbrain · 23/09/2018 14:44

I filed for divorce about a month ago.

STBXH received and returned his papers. Now wondering what happens next - do we hear nothing until the decree nisi?

Will I get a copy of what he has filled in?

Just wondering

OP posts:
MissedTheBoatAgain · 23/09/2018 15:06

Ideally you would be able to settle amicably. If you are both upfront with disclosure, earnings, pensions, assets, etc. Then two experienced family lawyers should be able to sort a settlement fairly quickly.

However, if one or both tries to hide things or turns the Divorce into a contest you will end up going down the Court route and costs can quickly spiral out of control. Process would be:

Both Parties complete a Form E. This has many sections such as; earnings, savings, assets, pensions, what you feel you need to live on in the future, illness or disabilities that may affect your ability to work. Quite a long Form, but if completed accurately and honestly it will help to speed things up.

Next is FDA (First Directions Appointment). Both Parties are given the opportunity to ask the other questions about the Form E or anything else they consider relevant. Judge will decide what questions should be answered and issue order as to what documents both Parties have to provide.

Next is FDR (Financial Dispute Resolution). This is a without prejudice hearing with a Judge. Intended to give the Parties an indication of what might be ordered if Divorce proceeds to a Final Hearing. However, based on comments made by Legal on another thread these are notoriously rushed and apparently booked at 3 per hour even though the Parties are meant to receive one hour of Judges time. How the Judges can read the papers, listen to arguments from both sides and make a meaningful decision in 15 to 20 minutes is beyond me. However, this is part of the process and I don't think you can proceed to a Final Hearing without first having attended the FDR.

Last step is the Final Hearing. This is usually schedule for 1.2 or 2 days. Counsel for the Applicant will make an opening statement. Counsel for Respondent will make their opening statement. Applicant will be first in the witness box and can be questioned for up to half a day by Respondent's Counsel. Judge can question the Applicant and Respondent and their advisors at any time during the hearing. Respondent will then go into witness box and be question by applicant's advisor. At end if questions Counsel will then make their final statements and what their client's are seeking as settlement. Judge will then go away to a separate room and spend 1 or 2 hours deciding what settlement should be.

It can be a stressful event as there is no restriction on questions that can be asked and counsel and judge may ask about personal relationships that may have developed after divorce was initiated.

So my advise to all on MN is to settle amicably as costs to go through the entire process to Final Hearing can be huge. Also possible the Judge make an Order that neither Party wanted.

numbbrain · 23/09/2018 15:22

wow, thankyou for such a detailed and concise explanation.

It certainly does sound like a stressful situation and one I would endeavour to avoid.

We are hoping to do it without going to court, but the contencious part is his pension which he wants to keep 5/6 for himself.

OP posts:
Xenia · 23/09/2018 16:54

Or you can do it as we did - we both knew each other's finances, only had joint accounts so no form Es no finan cial disclosure, not a single court hearing, just solicitors advising on each side, agreed financial consent order, sealed by the court and after that decree absolute (after I paid him and property transfer to me).

You say pension is the difficult one. We had we decided roughly similar pensions and would both continue to work full time for at least 20 years to accumulate more so did not have a pension sharing orders. in your case you and he need to negotiate - you could do a pension sharing order at 50% each (assuming he but not you has a pension in addition to state pension) or whatever else you can negotiate. Sometimes people let the other have more of the joint assets in return for no claims on pensions.

FishesThatFly · 23/09/2018 17:06

STBXH and l filled in form e and came to an agreement about what we wanted. Solicitors made it official and lodged it wirh the court Feb 2018

The Judge denied the arrangement in May 2018 as wanted more information on the financial split.

Further information sent June 2018. Still waiting to hear if it has been agreed.

Has cost £££££ so far to get to this stage as we also had a lot of discussions surrounding maintenance costs for the children

numbbrain · 23/09/2018 19:20

Oh Fishes

That must be so frustrating. If you and ex have agreed, why is the judge loading more court costs on to you both.

OP posts:
FishesThatFly · 24/09/2018 07:07

Everything has to be seen as fair nowadays. Unfortunately a house and pensions are not comparable in worth so it is difficult to say who has the better split, so the Judge wants more info

Xenia · 24/09/2018 08:24

If a finan cial order gives 100% to one side and nothing to the other the judges rightly challenge it otherwise men (or some women) might beat a woman into submission to a very poor deal time after time. So the system of checking by judges is very wise. In our case we both had solicitors (paid for by me in each case) and the order was fair enough so not challenged at the high court.

FishesThatFly · 24/09/2018 10:04

Our agreement was agreed by the solicitors and does equate to an approx 50/50 split but the Judge still wanted clarification.

numbbrain · 24/09/2018 19:43

So would they disagree to a split of 50-50 on the pension and 90-10 on the house equity?

OP posts:
FishesThatFly · 24/09/2018 19:49

Would depend what other assets or earning power the one with less equity has. Why a 90/10 split?

MissedTheBoatAgain · 25/09/2018 08:12

Or you can do it as we did - we both knew each other's finances, only had joint accounts so no form Es no finan cial disclosure, not a single court hearing Pleased to hear that some people are sensible. I will be able to work out how my ex did not understand that the more that was spent on Legal costs the less there would be at the end for Courts to share out

mne13 · 25/09/2018 08:16

My divorce went through quick and easy, it was amicable we had to do a consent order which we both agreed 60/40 split on the house and I agreed to do 60/40 on his pension as well but the solicitor told us the judge wouldn't allow that to happen with the pension!
His pension was split 50/50.
I only needed my one free hour with a solicitor and it was all done and dusted in 10 months.

He divorced me for unreasonable behaviour as I wasn't arsed about a divorce or not he was the one who wanted it and I am surprised his reasons actually went through!
Best thing I ever did was to make sure it was amicable with regards to the kids and the house

User1983 · 25/09/2018 08:21

Nothing is going to happen re finances unless one of you instigate it. It sounds as though you are only dealing with the divorce which doesn't automatically trigger the financial resolution.

MissedTheBoatAgain · 26/09/2018 01:34

It sounds as though you are only dealing with the divorce which doesn't automatically trigger the financial resolution

Correct. Divorce and Financial Settlement are two different subjects. Possible that Applicant for Divorce and Applicant for Financial Remedy are not the same partner.

Reason to keep separate is to prevent one party trying to block the Divorce unless they get all assets. ie blackmail.

FishesThatFly · 26/09/2018 20:46

Pleased to hear that some people are sensible.....

I do hope that wasn't in regards to my posts.

I am very sensible unfortunately my ex isn't. He was trying to force me to sign a financial agreement where he retained a £300,000 pension, £40,000 redundancy and sell the family home and take half - oh...and he earns 3 times what l do as l am PT as we have a disabled child.

He refused to disclose his figures amicably so Form E had to be filled in..... which was when l discovered his pension worth.

Also my court order is for long term maintenance for our disabled child as otherwise that would cease at 20yrs.

MissedTheBoatAgain · 27/09/2018 02:17

To FishesThatFly

It was not.

Familylawsolicitor · 27/09/2018 02:45

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FishesThatFly · 27/09/2018 09:32

Have just phoned East Midlands divorce court this morning. It took 6 weeks from when my solicitors posted the paperwork to the Court for it to reach the Judge. They have just told me it is taking 4 months currently for the Judge to look at each case.

Xenia · 27/09/2018 09:36

That might be why my solicitors used the High Court not a county court although I have no information on whether the High Court is similarly as slow. on the £300k pension presumably that the is the value of the pot so would pay out at 65 about £15,000 a year before tax.= and you could get a pension sharing order on that so you get half the £15k at 65 too (which would basically double your state pension although both that pension and the state pension would be taxed at 20% too) which puts you both as equal in relation to pension if you go for a pension sharing order. it will not be treated as £300,000 in cash. Your husband may at age 55 be able to take 25% of that sum tax free if he wants to reduce his pension after that once it is paid.

Familylawsolicitor · 27/09/2018 11:42

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Xenia · 27/09/2018 12:42

(Thanks. I didn't know although I don't think I will ever marry again hopefully it won't be relevant to me).

numbbrain · 27/09/2018 14:35


Thanks for that explanation about the decree nisi. I have just sent off the D80/84 and his response.

I am now very worried over the financial settlement. We both have a 4 bed house.

He has 85k salary, 40k bonus per year, 220k mortgage, 50k equity
I have 8k salary (which will increase) 73k mortgage 298k equity.

We have about 38k savings, 600k final salary pension.

I'm asking for 50% of pension and 80% equity/savings

What's your experience of this? He is happy for me to keep equity and half savings, but only wants me to have 100k pension..

OP posts:
Diana01 · 27/09/2018 22:59

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MissedTheBoatAgain · 28/09/2018 06:07

To Numbrain

I would go for capital as it is cash in hand now. What's to say (although hopefully it does not happen) that you will live long enough to reap the benefits of the pension?

You could always downsize property when your Adult Kids finally decide to stand on their own feet to release capital for old age?

Several of my parents friends never saw the pensions they had paid into all their lives either by dying before the retirement age or soon after retirement.

Remember too that Government is increasing the retirement age. So state pension is further away than before.

Difficult to say with certainty what a Judge would say, but 50% of pensions and 80% of assets seems one sided to me. Yes ex has been higher earner in past, but by your own admission you will be able to earn more in the future.

And if you say again "but what about the 3 children" I would repeat what I and several others have already said.


FishesThatFly · 28/09/2018 16:03

MissedTheBoatAgain - where does OP mention her children?

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