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What is Ancillary Relief in Divorce?

Ancillary Relief is part of the legal process which deal with the financial matters following a divorce. When a marriage comes to an end, a couple may decide to get a divorce. As well as undertaking the divorce process itself, the divorcing couple will need to deal with how to divide their finances.


What does ancillary relief mean?

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.


What is ancillary relief in divorce proceedings?

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’.

Ancillary Relief


How much does ancillary relief cost?

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.


How long does ancillary relief take?

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.


How to file for ancillary relief

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.


Ancillary relief: what factors will the court consider?

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.


Other articles that may be of interest to you?

How long does a divorce take?

What is the divorce process?

When is decree absolute granted in a divorce?

Decree Nisi – What does this mean in a divorce?

What are the first steps to divorce?

Is a cheap divorce really possible?


How can our expert divorce solicitors help you with ancillary relief

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to ancillary relief proceedings, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on ancillary relief proceedings

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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24th March 2020

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