Form A where do you find one, who fills it in and what does it do?

Form A

In a nutshell, Form A is the form that needs to be filled in to apply for a financial remedy in a divorce. It ‘s a standard court form and can be downloaded from the court website here.

This is what it looks like. Its official title is a notice of (intention to proceed with) an application for a financial order.

Form A

Is there a separate form A for a financial remedy order by consent (a consent order)?

No.

The same form is used whether you are applying for an order by consent or not.

Form A and MIAM

Over the years the Form A has evolved from a single page form to a 10 page form. This is because all applicants for a financial remedy on divorce now need to attend a MIAM (mediation information and assessment meeting) unless they are either:

  • exempt; or
  • the terms of their application and the order being sought are agreed (this is known as an application for a consent order).

The extra pages now contain numerous questions about mediation or the reasons you are exempt from the requirement to attend a MIAM, such as being in a violent relationship. Continue reading “Form A where do you find one, who fills it in and what does it do?”

application relating to land
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When do you need to tell your mortgage lender you are applying for a financial remedy order (even a consent order)?

You must inform your mortgage lender when you are making an application for a financial remedy order and it is an application relating to land.

This applies to consent orders and applications that are not by consent.

In the case of a consent order,  you must inform them at least two weeks before sending a consent order to the court.

In other cases (not by consent) you should do it at the time you issue your application.

What is an application relating to land?

This is any application relating to land itself or to a house/property on any land.

So an application relating to land may mean an application for:

  • a transfer of property from joint names to one name;
  • an order for the sale of the property;
  • a mesher order.

Continue reading “”

Can I send in a consent order without the agreement of my husband/wife?

The answer to this is no, I’m afraid not.

A consent order is a legally binding agreement.

It requires the agreement of both parties to the marriage/civil partnership and the approval of the court.

Both you and your husband/wife/civil partner will need to sign all the forms including the Form A, the D81 and the order itself. Continue reading “Can I send in a consent order without the agreement of my husband/wife?”

Can I download a consent order form from the court website?

You can’t download a consent order from the court website. So, you need to draft one (or arrange for a solicitor or barrister to draft one for you). A consent order needs to fit your requirements perfectly. One size doesn’t fit all.

What goes into a consent order?

The court only accepts court orders prepared in an approved format. This is usually best done by a solicitor who specialises in this type of family law.

consent order precedents

I use court approved precedents like these produced by Resolution the Solicitors Family Law Association for its members. Continue reading “Can I download a consent order form from the court website?”

When do I use the form A application for a financial order?

This form can be downloaded from the court service website here

It is used to start an application for a financial order on divorce – whether that is for a consent order or not.

It is a long form and not very user-friendly.

We supply a completed form with both our clean break consent order service   and our standard consent order service

Missing property box on Form A?

The form A application for a financial order asks for the address of any property which is the subject of an application for a property adjustment order to be inserted “in the box below”.

There are two issues with this.

First of all as you will see to the left, there isn’t a box.

Secondly there isn’t always a property even when this box has been ticked. Why not? Well it’s because you may just be asking the court to dismiss future claims rather than make an order now.

And yet I have today heard of Southampton divorce centre sending back a consent application because the property address was not filled in, in the box that isn’t there.

There are currently delays of 4-6 weeks to have post looked at, I understand, at Southampton and so it is pretty frustrating when this happens.

It is my understanding that all consent orders are supposed to be considered by a District Judge not an unqualified member of court staff. How realistic this is in the long term I don’t know. I don’t know how many District Judges they have moved to each centre. But given that there were county courts (many with several District Judges sitting in one place) in 92 towns and cities and now there are only 11 divorce centres, which have over the last few months started receiving all new divorce applications, the caseload will surely be too great.

They won’t be dealing with contested cases but, whilst we may have the impression from the media that all divorces end up in court, the opposite is in fact true. Every year the number of consent orders approved by the court service is more than double those which are initially contested and ten times the number which actually go to trial.

So it seems obvious that as the months go by the new divorce centres, which are now handling all routine consent orders, are going to have their work cut out.

It seem equally clear that not all consent orders can or will pass directly to the District Judges. There will presumably have to be preliminary checking – which I understand will, in the long run, speed up the process. But this is where I think there is much work still to be done at HMCTS. Newly trained but still inexperienced staff are dealing with forms which, let’s be honest, are barely fit for purpose.

Take the Form A. Somewhere in the transition from a single page form to a 13 page form (10 of which are entirely unnecessary for a consent order) things seem to have become muddled. When I read the statistics about 40% of all divorce forms being rejected because they are incorrectly filled in I wonder what else can be expected, when the forms are so poorly set out and the “notes for guidance” do anything but guide.

Please HMCTS can you give the box back if you want it to be filled in rather than just reject the forms, and please,please whilst you’re at it, can we have a single page form A for consent orders?

I advise anyone submitting a consent order over the next few months to be patient because things could get a lot slower before they begin to improve.

 

 

 

Should you tick the boxes asking for financial orders at the end of the petition?

I am your solicitor - qualified to answerThose little boxes at the end of the divorce petition do cause alarm but they don’t need to. The world will not fall in if you tick them. No court applications will be triggered. Nothing will generally happen at all.

Why are they there then?

Well, technically it is the very beginning of an application for financial provision. But don’t worry about that. A completely separate form actually  activates the applications. This used to be called a Notice of intention to proceed with an application for ancillary relief. It is now better known as the Form A.

Ticking the boxes does not trigger any court process nor is it treated as a request you want the court to make an order at all.

Why do we tick them?

 

The advantage of having ticked the boxes is that if you remarry before finalising the financial arrangements of your divorce, you will have technically already made your application in the prayer to the petition and can proceed with it. If you have deleted or failed to tick the boxes you cannot.

If you have both remarried that can be a real problem.

How often does that happen? Well for both of you to remarry before sorting out your finances probably not very often. But one of you remarrying happens quite often and if the person who remarries was either

a) the petitioner and has not ticked these boxes or 

b) the respondent

then that person will not be able to ask the court to consider the financial position or make an order.

The exception to this is possibly an application for a pension sharing order.

This problem is completely avoided by ticking the boxes on the petition.

There is no down side to ticking the boxes. If you don’t ever want a consent order you don’t need to submit one just because the boxes are ticked. It is a safety net.

Just because you wear a helmet on your bike doesn’t mean you’ve got to fall off to make it worthwhile.

To be on the safe side (and lawyers like to be on the safe side) we always tick the boxes and reassure our clients that this by itself does nothing.

The exception is the maintenance pending suit box which in some courts will cause the court office to call you up and ask if you want a hearing – although this has also only happened to me once and may not be practice up and down the country. I never tick that one box.

If you are doing your own divorce (and a lot of people on very tight budgets are) don’t forget to take advice anyway on the financial aspects of separating assets. It really is worth it and if you come to me I promise not to make a mountain out of a molehill.

 

 

Author: Nicola Williams Solicitor.