Form A (for dismissal purposes only)
Form A is the document used to start a financial claim in divorce or civil partnership proceedings. A fair amount of confusion appears to arise when solicitors ask their clients or the self-repping ex-partners of their clients to complete and return a Form A for dismissal purposes only.
Layla recently asked me:
My ex husband and I have been asked to provide a form for dismissal purposes only as we are not seeking a financial settlement do we have to complete one?
Well, I’m not sure who is asking Layla to provide a form but it is likely to be a Form A (pictured above). This is the form used in divorce proceedings in the Principal Registry or county courts. If the financial claims are not arising within divorce proceedings, such as Schedule I financial claims under the Children Act 1989, then Form A1 is used. Any financial claim in the Magistrates’ Court uses Form A2.
Layla refers to neither her or her ex-husband seeking a financial settlement. Just to be clear: even if Layla and her ex are dismissing all financial claims between them this is still ‘a settlement’. So, I’m guessing that Layla and her ex have also just negotiated and signed a consent order.
Why Form A (for dismissal purposes only)?
When a Petitioner in divorce files his or her divorce petition, they complete (or should complete!) a page at the back ticking the boxes of various financial claims. The divorce petition then proceeds through the court and, hopefully, a financial settlement is agreed which results in a document called a consent order. This consent order, once agreed and signed by the parties is submitted to the court for approval by a judge. At this point, the only party who has indicated any intention to apply for a financial order is the Petitioner at the back of the divorce petition. The Court has not yet heard anything from the Respondent about the financial claims they may wish to make.
So, family lawyers simply ask the Respondent to complete a Form A (so that person is opening up their financial claims) but to mark across the top of the Form A “FOR DISMISSAL PURPOSES ONLY”. This Form A accompanies the consent order to the Court and is a signal to the judge that the Respondent’s financial claims are limited to the terms of the consent order for which approval is sought.
For many years, the courts only seemed to require Form A (for dismissal purposes only) from a Respondent spouse but of late, it has become prudent to also ask the Petitioner to complete a Form A (for dismissal purposes).
As for the procedure to lodge the consent order, there can be slight variations between the courts but you will probably need to:
1. Provide two copies of the draft order (that is, two unsigned copies) and a third version which is signed by both parties and any legal advisers who are providing representation;
2. A statement of information form (one for each party). The form can be filled out online or printed off for completion at leisure by visiting http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/d081-eng.pdffor If this link does not work then visit the Justice.gov.uk website, go to the Form finder search box and type in Form D81.
3. The appropriate fee – which is, at time of typing, £45.00.
4. Form A, for both parties, which must be completed and then have written across the top “dismissal purposes only”. You can find the Form A, if this link works, at http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/form-a-eng.pdf. If the link does not work then go to the Justice.gov.uk website again and type Form A into the form finder search box.
I hope that helps. Good luck.