Court Procedure - Shortlands Law Firm
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Court Procedure

If an agreement can be reached either through negotiations or mediation we simply draft a Consent Order and this is lodged with the Court for the Judge to seal.
If however, an agreement cannot be reached then an application is filed with the Court and the following procedure is followed:

A) Application:

One party will issue an application setting out the orders sought and the Court will then allocate the case a hearing date. Prior to the first hearing disclosure of finances will be ordered through a strict timetable set by the court. Disclosure will take place through completion of a Form E by each party. If further questions arise from the disclosure then a question is served on the party prior to the first hearing (First Appointment) with a Chronology, Statement of Issues and a Costs form. If full disclosure has occurred then the matter can be heard as a First Dispute Resolution Appointment FDR – allowing the parties to spend as much time as possible at Court to negotiate a settlement.

B) The First Directions Appointment (FDA):

At this hearing, the Judge ensure that all documentation has been completed properly, considers the questionnaires and sets a strict timetable for further disclosure of necessary so that the next hearing can be utilized efficiently to negotiate a settlement.

C) The Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment (FDR):

Prior to this hearing, both parties would have followed the directions ordered at the previous hearing meaning that full disclosure has taken place. Offers of settlement should also have been exchanged. At the hearing, the Judge gives an indication as to how matters may be settled and that allows as much time as needed to negotiate a settlement between barristers acting for both parties. The same Judge cannot preside over the final hearing as he/she would have been privy to the negotiations.

D) The Final Hearing:

At the final hearing, both parties will give evidence with any valuers and the District Judge will then make a decision. These hearings are costly and stressful and should be avoided if at all possible.
For more extensive advice, please do not hesitate to attend an initial consultation, or email us, or telephone us.


I have found Shortlands an extremely professional and understanding firm. My solicitor Sian Whittaker has always explained proceedings in a manner that is easy to understand and the knowledge and advice given has always been supportive and invaluable.I feel that my work is being handled very professionally and they are very prompt with their replies to my questions. I would not therefore hesitate in recommending them.
Lee Kimberley
Dear Shortlands, A very big thank you for all your help regarding my case, brilliant service provided and I will be recommending your good name to all who seek legal representation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I claim?

There are a wide range of claims that can be made depending on your circumstances.

Please see Your Rights.

How long does it take?

If matters can be agreed than the agreement is filed with the court after the pronouncement of the Decree Nisi.

If matters proceed to court then matters could take six months to a year to settle.

How long will I pay bills and legal costs until settlement?

If you do not have an income than an application for interim maintenance can be made seeking a monthly sum to cover utilities and urgent living expenses as well as fees. The amount received depends on the other party’s income.

Will all the hidden assets/income be disclosed and taken into account?

Absolutely. Full and frank disclosure is sought before any settlement is reached. See Hidden Assets & Disclosure.


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