Financial Remedy Centres
Often we are required to remind or explain to spouses that getting a divorce decree does not deal with the financial claims arising from the marriage. Although the two processes are linked together by the same case number, they are different processes and have different requirements. In every case, both spouses are encouraged to reach mutually acceptable terms of settlement and if they are able to do so, the terms are recorded in a formal Consent Order and sealed by the Court as part of the overall divorce proceedings.
However, in some cases it is impossible for spouses to reach agreement without the input of a family judge. In such circumstances a separate financial application has to be made to the Court, known as Contested Financial Remedy Proceedings. Traditionally the application for such proceedings would be sent to the same Regional Divorce Centres (RDC) which issued the divorce petition. The RDC would then transfer the case to the local hub who would ensure a court timetable is put in place and the First Appointment Hearing is listed. However, under this system the hearing could be listed in whichever court has capacity to hear the case and not necessarily the court local to the parties.
From 15 February 2021, regardless of whether the divorce application was issued online or on paper, all contested financial remedy applications must now be sent directly to the Financial Remedy Centre (FRC) that is local to the applicant. If the application is not sent to the zone which is most local to the applicant, the court is likely to transfer the case to be heard elsewhere, most likely in a local zone, so care should be taken to ensure the application is submitted to the correct FRC.
Applications are made using Form A and a court fee applies (currently £255). The FRCs are in 18 zones and in all parts of England and Wales as follows:
|London||Central Family Court|
|West Midlands||Birmingham Civil and Family Justice Centre|
|East Midlands||Nottingham County Court and Family Court|
|South East Wales||Newport County Court and Family Court|
|Mid and West Wales||Port Talbot Justice Centre|
|Cheshire and Merseyside||Liverpool Civil and Family Court|
|Humberside and South Yorkshire||Sheffield Combined Court Centre|
|Cleveland, Newcastle and Durham||Newcastle Civil and Family Courts and Tribunals Centre|
|North and West Yorkshire||Leeds Combined Court Centre|
|Kent, Surrey and Sussex||Medway County Court and Family Court|
|Greater Manchester||Manchester Civil Justice Centre (Civil and Family Courts)|
|Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire||Peterborough Combined Court and Family Hearing Centre|
|Thames Valley||Oxford Combined Court Centre|
|Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, North Somerset, and Bath and North East Somerset||Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre|
|Dorset and Hampshire||Bournemouth Combined Court|
|Devon, Cornwall and South Somerset||Plymouth Combined Court|
|North Wales||Wrexham County and Family Court|
|Lancashire and Cumbria||Preston Crown Court and Family Court|
A full list of the FRCs and contact details can be found here: HMCTS financial remedy centres.
A pilot scheme is running in some of the financial remedy centres to allow contested financial remedy applications to be issued online via a digital portal. If the most local FRC to the applicant is not in one of these pilot areas, then the application should, where possible, be submitted by email to the appropriate FRC.
For anyone who is going through or thinking of issuing financial proceedings as part of a divorce, our experienced family solicitors are here to help. Please get in contact on 01473 611 211 to arrange an initial 45 minute consultation.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich.