What is a Statement of Information form?
- AuthorShelley Cumbers
If you are involved in divorce proceedings and have reached a settlement with your spouse regarding the financial matters arising from the breakdown of your marriage, what should you do and what information must you provide to the court?
Many divorcing couples will wish to resolve the financial matters relating to their separation amicably and not involve the court in any contested proceedings regarding such matters. There are many benefits in doing so, not least to avoid the potential costs and delay that might otherwise be incurred as a result of issuing an application to the court for financial provision and the court timetable which is then triggered.
It is open to divorcing couples to reach their own agreement regarding the financial matters and there is no need to involve the court unless it is necessary, for example:,
- where disclosure is not forthcoming, where financial assistance is required urgently and the other party will not cooperate voluntarily,
- or where negotiations have not resulted in an agreement being reached or where one party is unwilling to negotiate or engage in sensible discussion regarding such matters.
There are several ways divorcing couples can look to agree on the financial matters of their separation including direct discussion, mediation, collaborative law, solicitor negotiation and arbitration for example.
If they successfully agree to the terms of a settlement, they should both seek independent legal advice from a solicitor specialising in family law before implementing any of the proposed settlement terms. This is to ensure they understand the implications of the proposed settlement, what their legal rights and responsibilities are and whether there are any matters which may have been overlooked and which need to be addressed first.
Assuming legal advice has been received and both parties wish to proceed with their amicable agreement, what should they do?
The answer to this question is straightforward – they should ensure the financial agreement is properly documented and in most cases this will be in the form of a financial Consent Order, unless the parties are postponing their divorce and in which case they will need to consider having a Separation Agreement drawn up first and then the Consent Order later once the divorce proceedings are underway.
The purpose of a Consent Order is to formally record the terms of the financial settlement which can then be submitted to the court for approval and sealing as part of the divorce. Once approved, the financial settlement is then legally binding and enforceable on both parties.
What information must you provide to the court with a financial Consent Order?
The court will require a certain amount of information from both parties before it considers a financial Consent Order.
This means both parties will be required to complete, either individually or jointly, a standard court form known as a Statement of Information for a Consent Order (otherwise known as a Form D81). The purpose of the form is to set out the basic facts of the case in a way which is easy for a Judge to consider.
The form summarises key dates and the financial details of both parties, including the value of their property assets, savings, debts, pensions and income. It also requires the parties to confirm whether they plan to remarry or cohabit with someone else in the near future and where they plan to live. This information must be provided to the court so that a Judge can consider whether it is appropriate to approve the Consent Order.
Without such information, the court will not consider the proposed Consent Order.
If you are going through a divorce and would like to discuss the related financial matters including, including assistance with the preparation of a Consent Order and Statement of Information form, then please get in touch.
We offer a free 15 minute chat over the phone to explore how we can help and to discuss matters with you. Please call Shelley Cumbers directly on 01206 217378 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.