What is the Protocol?
Financial remedy is governed by a pre-litigation protocol which is designed to keep costs down and avoid a trial where possible. It sets out best practice to be followed and encourages negotiated settlement. The essential parts of the protocol are as follows:
- An initial letter should be sent to the other side advising them of the fact that an application is being brought and seeking to agree whether financial disclosure is to be provided before any application is issued at Court
- If the other side responds positively, then there should be disclosure and negotiation prior to going to Court. If they do not reply favourably then you should go to Court
- If financial disclosure is to take place it should be full and open, to enable proper negotiations to take place
- Should either side wish to obtain an expert valuation on any asset they should try to agree this and the identity of the person to be instructed with the other side
- If the matter settles by negotiation it will need to be approved by the court via a consent order. If it does not settle a formal application should then be brought. The court will issue directions to see if the matter can settle by negotiation and hold a trial where it cannot.
It is possible to manage this process yourself, or perhaps using the services of mediation, particularly when it is an amicable separation and the financial situation is reasonably simple. You will then only need the services of a solicitor to apply for the consent order. If this is the case we are happy to help in these instances and to give some free initial advice before using the services of a mediator.