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What you need to do with your Form A, and receiving Form C

Mahie Abey, Family Solicitor

Sending off Form A

You now need to make two copies of Form A and of your completed form FM1.

Attach the original FM1 to the back of the original Form A, and do the same with the two sets of copies.

Send the forms and a cheque for £240 payable to ‘HMCTS’ to the Court where your divorce was issued, and the Court will issue what are now called Financial Remedy Proceedings (their old name was Ancillary Relief Proceedings).

What happens next - receiving Form C

 The Court will send you and your ex-partner a sealed copy of the Form A (that means stamped by them) and a new document called a Form C which will set out the Court timetable. This lists the date of the First Appointment (see below for more information about this hearing), and tells you what you need to do before it.

Form C will tell you that the Court will give you approximately 10 weeks to file and serve (‘file’ means lodge with the Court and ‘serve’ is when you send it to your ex-partner) a Form E.  I’ll explain how to do this in a later post.

It will then tell you that 2 weeks before the First Appointment (FA), you will have to submit what I call FA documents. These are:

·        a Statement of Issues
·        a Chronology
·        a Questionnaire
·        Form G  

A brief explanation of these documents follows – I’ll tell you how to prepare each of them in a later post.

The Questionnaire is the most important of these documents.  It sets out the various questions that you have on the disclosure already provided by your ex-partner.

Form G is a document which confirms whether you are able to treat the FA as the second hearing in the process, the FDR (see below).

The Chronology is a brief list of the important dates in your life, relevant to the proceedings (e.g. dates of birth  of you both and your children, dates of marriage and separation etc).

The Statement of Issues is your view of the issues in the case.

Form C then lists the date of the First Appointment – which will be 12 to 16 weeks after the Form A has been issued – and the time and place of the hearing.

More about the First Appointment

The First Appointment is usually a procedural hearing, at which the Court will give directions as to which questions on the Questionnaire should be answered and any valuation evidence that is required.  The Court will allow time for the obtaining of that information and usually, about 3-4 months after the FA, list the next hearing – the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing.

The Financial Dispute Resolution hearing

The Financial Dispute Resolution hearing is the best opportunity for you and your ex-partner to settle your case.

The FDR is a without prejudice hearing (this means that nothing discussed at the hearing can be referred to at a later hearing) at which a Judge will give you a non-binding indication as to what he thinks the answer is in your case.  The idea is that you and your ex partner will use that indication from the Judge to try to resolve the case.

The vast majority of cases settle at the FDR as, having heard what a Judge thinks, even on an informal basis, people are unwilling to continue with litigation and usually settle matters between them.

If the case does not settle at an FDR, then the Court will list a Final Hearing at which a Judge will impose a settlement on you.

In a later post I will explain how each of these hearings should be conducted and what they involve. 

I will also tell you how to complete your Form E properly and why it is so important.

(If you're using the Intelligent Divorce co-operative service we'll handle all of this for you!)

Have a look at our other illustrated practical guides to the divorce process and sorting out your finances.