You are in a family seat as part of your training contract with Burrell, Young and Hepple solicitors. Having acted for Helena Wilson in divorce proceedings, she seeks your advice over the family’s money and property.
Helena attends the office to seek some initial advice and this is recorded in an attendance note –Financial Proceedings Case Study Initial Attendance Note. Helena also completes a Form E in preparation of disclosing her assets as part of the Pre-Action Protocol. Helena’s Form E can be found HERE. David Wilson also completes a Form E and this can be found HERE. Read these forms carefully as they provide the initial disclosure of assets in the case. Make some notes about the major assets and liabilities in the case as well as noting the parties’ income and outgoings as this will be useful later on when considering how to resolve the case.
Your supervisor asks you to think about Helena’s case now initial disclosure has been given. In particular, it is important to apply the s25 Matrimonial Causes Act (MCA) 1973 to Helena’s case and draw any conclusions about the case that you can. S25 MCA 1973 provides the guidance which the courts will use to resolve the case. Look at Chapters 12 and 13 for further guidance. Think about each of s25 criteria and how it may apply to this particular case and draw conclusions about what the court may decide in Helena’s case.
Look at the Form E and the attendance note and compare your work with this guidance note – Financial Proceedings Case Study s25 Guidance.
Now you have considered the s25 MCA 1973 factors, your supervisor asks you to consider the likely orders a court would make in this case. Consult Chapter 13 for further guidance and scope of each type of order. It is useful to start with a consideration of what should happen to the family home, as this is often the largest asset in the case. Think carefully about the former family home and start by considering which order the court would make:
- Sale and division of proceeds;
- Mesher or Martin order;
- Charge on the home.
Then consider all of the assets and decide on a package of orders which will resolve the case. Consider whether to make a lump sum order, a pension order, periodical payments orders and any other orders which you consider. Compare your work with the guidance given here –Financial Proceedings Case Study Orders.
Your supervisor asks you to check David’s Form E to find out the CETV value of his pension – find out if you were correct by looking at Financial Proceedings Case Study CETV.
Your supervisor asks you to calculate David’s liability for Child Support Maintenance. Check Chapter 19 for further details. Look at the Form E for David’s income and calculate his liability and check your calculation with Financial Proceedings Case Study Child Support.
As part of the preparations for the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing (see Chapter 15 for details of the full procedure), your supervisor drafts a Statement of Issues and a Questionnaire for Helena, which can be found here. These documents are exchanged and your supervisor asks you to draft a reply to David’s questionnaire. Helena gives instructions and a suggested solution can be found at Financial Proceedings Case Study Preparation for FDR.
Helena wishes to know what will happen at the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing. Think about what a client will need to do in order to prepare for such a hearing. Think about how you will express the technical procedural issues in clear and plain English, and in a way which a client can easily understand. Write a letter to Helena and compare your letter with Financial Proceedings Case Study FDR Letter. The part in italics is the part explaining the FDR.
At the end of Chapter 21 you were asked about tax liability when considering financial issues following divorce. Consider Helena and David’s case and think about whether any tax issues will arise as part of the case. Compare your answer with Financial Proceedings Case Study Tax Implications.
Helena and David’s case settles at FDR and a consent order is drafted. Take a look at Financial Proceedings Case Study Consent Order and decide if any alterations are required.