By Carla Fraser
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What is Ancillary Relief?

Ancillary Relief

During the course of divorce proceedings, the parties will enter into negotiations with a view of agreeing how the matrimonial finances and assets should be split.  If an agreement cannot be reached, Court proceedings can be issued to ask the Court to deal with the financial settlement. This process is known as Ancillary Relief.

During this process, you will be required to provide financial discovery.  This is documentation setting out your full financial position and includes bank statements, payslips, business accounts, tax returns, mortgage redemption statements, property valuations and pension valuations amongst other documentation.  This discovery together with affidavits setting out your financial position will be lodged with the Court by both parties and also provided to your ex husband/ex wife through their solicitor.

Ancillary relief proceedings are stressful, personal and complex and it is therefore vital that you obtain expert legal advice regarding the same. We have expert divorce and ancillary relief solicitors in Belfast and Dungannon that can guide you through this process and help to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

The Court Process

The Court process will include a number of Court reviews during which the Judge will assist the parties in trying to narrow the issues and come to an agreement.  The Court will actively try to assist in negotiations. If these negotiations fail, the Court will make an Order on how the finances/assets should be split to meet each parties reasonable needs.   The starting point for the Court is 50% to each party however this is often departed from. The Court will take following factors into account:-

  • The future income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources each party to the marriage has is likely to have in the foreseeable future;

  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities each party to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;

  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family prior to the breakdown of the marriage;

  • The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;

  • Any physical or mental disability of either party to the marriage;

  • The contributions made by each party of likely to be made in the foreseeable future to the welfare of the family – this includes looking after the home or caring for the family;

  • The conduct of each party only if that conduct is such that it would be the opinion of the court is inequitable to disregard it; and

  • The value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit for which by reason of the divorce that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

Having taken the above matters into consideration, the Court will then split the finances and assets in a way which they consider will meet each parties reasonable needs.

What Orders Can The Court Make?

The Court has the power to make the following Ancillary Relief Orders:-

  • Lump sum payments;

  • Pensions Sharing Orders;

  • Property Adjustment Order (this transfers the ownership of property to one of the parties)

  • Maintenance payments;

  • Clean Break Orders.

This Sounds Expensive..

Pre Action Protocol as dictated by the High Court in Northern Ireland states that in respect of ancillary relief proceedings all parties must bear in mind the overriding objective of justice and ensure that all claims are resolved. It also ensures a just resolution achieved as speedily as possible without costs being incurred unreasonably. We will ensure that costs are reasonable and the needs of any children are addressed and safeguarded throughout the process.

How We Can Help

At P.A. Duffy & Co. we understand that divorce and separation can be difficult and numbers regarding financial settlement can get complicated. Our divorce solicitors will walk you through the process and help ensure that your interests are protected.

Should you require any advice on any aspect of Family law, our experienced and knowledgeable family law solicitors are here to support you every step of the way. You can trust P.A. Duffy & Co. to handle your query with great sensitivity, expertise, and care.

Using us will mean that the job is done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Getting the right divorce legal advice can help guide you through the divorce process and the difficulties of what can be an emotional rollercoaster.

We would encourage our clients to look at our reviews on the website. You will see the positive comments from their past clients. This can help you relate their experience to your own situation.

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