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What if I have to go to court?

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What is involved?

In some divorce or separation cases, mediation, collaborative practice, arbitration or other ways of resolving cases may not be suitable, or they may have been tried and failed. If you need to go to court, our family lawyers are here to support you.

When going to court, it is usual for both parties to instruct their own solicitor. We will always try to negotiate a settlement for you first instead of going straight to court. If this is not possible, perhaps due to someone not wanting to disclose his or her finances, an application to court will often be the only way to finalise everything. A judge will then have to decide what a fair settlement should be. Briefly, the standard process involves:

  • Lodging an Application – This can be done after your divorce petition has been filed with the court
  • Preparing for the first hearing – Collating all relevant information about your issues and finances
  • The first hearing – Identifying the issues in dispute and setting a timetable by which everything has to be done and any additional evidence provided
  • Financial dispute resolution hearing (FDR) – Negotiating and attempting to reach a settlement with the assistance of the Judge
  • Final hearing – Presenting all of the evidence so a District Judge can make the final decision about what will happen

Click here to download our full guide to going to court.

Why choose Freeths?

  • We are ranked in the top tier by both the Legal 500 and Chambers for family law advice
  • If we cannot help you reach an agreement our lawyers will represent you robustly in court
  • Our nationally renowned family lawyers have many years’ experience of dealing with all kinds of court cases
  • We develop innovative solutions to difficult problems, carefully tailored to your individual needs
  • You can trust our team to take a sensitive, empathetic approach to your personal situation

Call our friendly, professional family team to find out how we can help you.

Both parties have to bear their own costs, unless there is clear evidence that one party has acted unreasonably during the court process.

Costs can escalate very quickly, so it is important that they be regularly reviewed.

The focus for any court case is achieving a fair settlement, and a range of considerations are taken into account. Considerations include the welfare of a child or family, the income and assets of each person, their financial needs, the standard of living enjoyed before the separation, the age of each person and duration of marriage, any mental or physical disability, the contribution of both partners (including childcare and housework) and any inherited or gifted wealth. Any children will be the court’s paramount consideration.

It is important to realise that everyone reaching an agreement that is then recorded in a court order and approved by a Judge can halt the court process at any point before the final hearing. The order can be dealt with by post without the need for anyone to attend court.

You do not have to use us for every hearing or even have us at court if you are happy to conduct hearings yourself. We can provide you with advice on isolated issues, or just help guide you in the background so that you know what to do every step of the way. However, if your case involves complicated issues or high-value assets, it is wise to have a good legal team supporting you from the very start of any court process.

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(The Legal 500, 2017)

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"Definitely put their clients first. The firm is committed to establishing a close working relationship with the clients in order to facilitate the best possible outcome for them."

(Chambers & Partners, 2016)

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"I was really satisfied with the team. I felt very supported. Nothing was too much trouble, and I could always get hold of the lawyers. They were helpful, supportive and friendly, and they explained everything in layman's terms."

(Chambers & Partners, 2016)

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"I wanted, now back in the office and with access to my PC to thank you properly for conducting this tortuous financial settlement for me. You have really been a great comfort and I am very relieved to have achieved an agreement which allows me to move on with my life."

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"Now that things finally seem to be coming to an end I thought I would take the opportunity to thank you so much for all you have done over the past five years (yes, really!). I can't begin to tell you what a source of strength and support it was knowing you and your team - but especially you - were there in the background."

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Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

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