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Key changes to Contested Financial Remedy Applications

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Key changes to Contested Financial Remedy Applications

Administrative changes, designed to streamline the court process, have recently come into effect concerning where to send Contested Financial Remedy applications on divorce. 

These applications are made in divorce proceedings where the parties are unable to agree a financial settlement arising from the breakdown of their marriage and where they need a court timetable to be put in place to ensure the financial issues are concluded. 

As such, with effect from 15 February 2021, regardless of whether the divorce application was issued online or on paper, all contested financial remedy applications must now be sent directly to the Financial Remedy Centre (FRC) that is local to the applicant. 

This is instead of  sending them to the Regional Divorce Centres (RDC). 

If the application is not sent to the zone which is most local to the applicant, the court is likely to transfer the case to be heard elsewhere, most likely in a local zone, so care should be taken to ensure the application is submitted to the correct FRC.

The application is still made using Form A and a court fee applies (currently £255). The FRCs are in 18 zones and in all parts of England and Wales as follows:

Zone19FRC 
LondonCentral Family Court
West MidlandsBirmingham Civil and Family Justice Centre
East MidlandsNottingham County Court and Family Court
South East WalesNewport County Court and Family Court
Mid and West WalesPort Talbot Justice Centre
Cheshire and MerseysideLiverpool Civil and Family Court
Humberside and South YorkshireSheffield Combined Court Centre
Cleveland, Newcastle and DurhamNewcastle Civil and Family Courts and Tribunals Centre
North and West YorkshireLeeds Combined Court Centre     
Kent, Surrey and SussexMedway County Court and Family Court
Greater ManchesterManchester Civil Justice Centre (Civil and Family Courts)
Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and HertfordshirePeterborough Combined Court and Family Hearing Centre                  
Thames ValleyOxford Combined Court Centre
Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, North Somerset, and Bath and North East SomersetBristol Civil and Family Justice Centre
Dorset and HampshireBournemouth Combined Court
Devon, Cornwall and South SomersetPlymouth Combined Court
North WalesWrexham County and Family Court
Lancashire and CumbriaPreston Crown Court and Family Court

 

A full list of the FRCs and contact details can be found here: HMCTS financial remedy centres.

A pilot scheme is running in some of the FRCs to allow contested financial remedy applications to be issued online via a digital portal. If the most local FRC to the applicant is not in one of these pilot areas, then the application should, where possible, be submitted by email to the appropriate FRC.

For some time now, it has been possible to start divorce proceedings online or on paper and this will continue for the time being.

Further, if the divorcing couple can settle the financial matters arising from their divorce by agreement, a Consent Order application can be made online to seek the Court’s approval of the financial settlement, provided the application meets certain requirements, otherwise it should be submitted on paper to the RDC (by email preferably). 

If the Consent application requires a hearing, the application will be transferred to the local Court for a hearing, while the divorce case will continue at the RDC or online depending on where the divorce was issued.

It is hoped these changes will make the process more efficient for all concerned and will assist in the transition to a centralised digital system in the future.

If you are involved in or contemplating divorce proceedings and need legal advice about your position, including in respect of the financial aspects of your separation, please get in touch for a free 15 minute telephone consultation. 

I am based in our Colchester office and can be contacted on 01206 217378 or shelley.cumbers@birkettlong.co.uk.

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