Ancillary relief proceedings are the proceedings concerned with financial matters upon divorce. Ancillary relief is another way of saying “financial settlement”.
It is named as such because financial matters are viewed as being ancillary – “something which functions in a supplementary or supporting role” – to the divorce proceedings. Ancillary relief proceedings are separate from the divorce process, but may run concurrently with it.
When a marriage breaks down, divorce is often the next logical step. In order to start the divorce process, one party’s divorce solicitor will submit the divorce petition. This party will become the petitioner and the other will become the respondent.
As well as the divorce process itself, the division of the finances will also have to be dealt with. In some instances, both parties are able to come to an agreement either between themselves, or with the help of a mediator (or through another method, such as collaborative law).
If an agreement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to ask a court to decide how the finances will be split upon divorce and make a financial order to this effect. This used to be called an ‘ancillary relief order’.
Asking a court to decide your financial settlement upon divorce can be time-consuming and costly. Applying for a financial order costs £255 at the time of writing. However, this is just the cost for the application. The whole process may take many months, so it’s easy to see how legal fees can end up costing a significant sum of money.
Applying for ancillary relief following the breakdown of a marriage can take many months, sometimes longer.
Normally, a good divorce solicitor should work with you to help you and your spouse reach an agreement outside of court. However, this is not always possible and in some instances, applying to the court for ancillary relief may be the only option.
Applying for ancillary relief is done by filling out a ‘Form A’ and sending it to the court which is dealing with your divorce. Your solicitor will file your Form A for you.
This form details the type of ancillary relief you are seeking. You must include whether any pension arrangements will be included on an order for ancillary relief.
When looking at an order for ancillary relief, the court will consider factors such as the age of the parties, their assets and their earning potential.
Most of the time, the court will want to aim for a clean break, so that both parties can move on with their lives without having to deal with ongoing contact.
Of course, a clean break will not be suitable – or possible – in all circumstances.
As ancillary relief proceedings can be extremely complex, it is highly recommended that you seek independent legal advice from an experienced solicitor, such as Austin Kemp, before applying to the court for ancillary relief.
Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to ancillary relief proceedings, including:
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