Financial Provisions on Divorce | What is the process?
When dealing with a couple’s financial provisions on divorce, there are two ways in which you can proceed. The first being voluntarily and the second being an application to the Royal Court for ancillary relief / financial provision.
It is important to note that an application for ancillary relief can only be filed once a petition for Jersey divorce or judicial separation is before the Royal Court.
The usual process for disclosure upon an application for financial provisions on divorce
The first stage in the disclosure process, whether it be voluntarily or through Royal Court proceedings, is for both parties’ legal representatives to set a date for exchanging the Affidavits of Means.
An Affidavit of Means is a document which lists information in respect of an individual’s financial situation. The document covers a wide range of circumstances which could apply in any given case, for example; details of any property owned, details of all bank accounts held, any pensions, shares or investment policies, details of any loans and liabilities, any personal belongings of a particular value and details of that person’s individual needs and the needs of the children (where applicable).
The Affidavit of Means is then accompanied by supporting disclosure; the usual documentation provided are the following:
- Proof of any maintenance being paid, whether spousal or child contributions;
- Details of any mortgages and their repayment terms for any properties owned;
- An up-to-date valuation of any properties owned;
- Details of your individual borrowing capacity from a bank provider;
- Twelve months’ worth of bank statements for all accounts held; depending on the circumstances, three years’ worth may be sought;
- Details of any life insurance policies;
- Valuations of any pensions held; the usual information sought is the ‘cash equivalent transfer value’ (CETV);
- Details of any debts, loans and credit cards;
- Documentation to support monthly outgoings, where applicable; and
- Six months’ worth of wage slips, and proof of the previous year’s December wage slip.
Once the Affidavits of Means are exchanged, where necessary, there may be a provision for questionnaires to be exchanged. Questionnaires are done on the basis of the information received; the other side then has the right to request for further disclosure where proportionate. Replies are then exchanged shortly thereafter, to provide the information sought in the questionnaires.
Proposals are then negotiated by the legal representatives as to any offers for settlement.
In the event of Royal Court proceedings for financial provisions on divorce, there may be further filing tasks where appropriate.
Where an agreement has been reached, the parties may enter into a consent order which will be binding when ratified by the Royal Court. Alternatively, the Court may make an order for financial provisions on divorce in the absence of any agreement at a final hearing.
Author: Stephanie Devine