The Court Process

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We have been involved in many high profile and sensitive family law cases. Our team includes highly experienced lawyers who understand the impact of litigation on a family and the stress it can bring. They understand that a robust approach is, in some cases, the only way to resolve a divorce.  Our team not only understands the law, but also the complexities of personal relationships.  We have years of experience in the court system and we will help you to decide whether it is in your interests to have a court process in place.

Clients come to us for expert guidance and support. Our ambition is to try and give an accurate opinion of the outcome at the outset.  This means you can make an informed choice about a settlement offer or whether there is benefit to you in continuing in a court-led process.  We are transparent and upfront about costs versus the benefits and risks of litigation.

There is a myth that court proceedings are more expensive than alternatives to litigation.  That may be true in some cases, but there are some circumstances when a client will spend less on fees by starting proceedings early on.   We will consider carefully the financial impact of starting court proceedings and how, in the long term, your interests are best served.  We will ensure you fully understand the options open to you and we will be transparent about the costs involved in each process. We will not push you into court proceedings if you do not want to go to court.

When a court process starts, the court will start a timetable leading to full financial disclosure (which involves a financial statement known as a “Form E”).  A first court hearing, called a “First Directions Appointment” (FDA) will be listed with the aim of considering what further disclosure and valuations are needed to enable the parties to negotiate a settlement or, if that is not possible, enable the court to decide the outcome.

The court process encourages negotiation and agreements can, and often are, reached well before a Judge makes a final decision. The second stage of the court process is the “Financial Dispute Resolution” hearing (FDR), which involves Judge-led mediation in order to encourage settlement. 

If an agreement cannot be reached, we will expertly prepare you and your case for a final hearing, always weighing up your options, the risks and the costs.  We will work with the right barrister for your personal circumstances ensuring you have the best representation in court.   We understand the particular strain and emotional upheaval that a final court hearing can cause.  Our clients regularly praise us for our client care and absolute determination to look after their interests.  We pride ourselves on giving clients excellent service, working with other professionals where necessary to give you full support at all times.


"It's a team that has a great breadth of experience across the board and particularly in international cases."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"I always think of them as having a Rolls-Royce service but they are particularly good when there's a European element to the case."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"Very strong litigation practice, with some of the best up-and-coming stars of tomorrow"

Legal 500 UK

"A standout firm"

Legal 500 UK

"Professional yet sympathetic manner and the team always fights hard to defend your interests"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession


If you require further information or advice from our team of specialist family lawyers, please contact a member of our team or call us on +44 (0)20 7814 1200.

"They made a very difficult time much easier to deal with. Their professionalism kept me sane and focused on the outcome I needed"


"It's a team that has a great breadth of experience across the board and particularly in international cases"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"All have been excellent and have shown great diligence and practicality, along with sensitivity during a very difficult time in my life"


"Rolls-Royce service and particularly good when there's a European element to the case"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"A standout firm"

Legal 500 UK

"Professional yet sympathetic manner and the team always fights hard to defend your interests"

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

The Court Process Insights

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Kingsley Napley hosts close-to-call debate about whether family justice can be served through remote hearings

Valuing your business for divorce proceedings during the uncertainty of COVID - Connie Atkinson writes for Business Matters

Lawyer in the news - Jane Keir featured in The Law Society Gazette

Have I lost out in my divorce settlement? Unexpected expenses were added to my share of the family home - Jane Keir writes for Moneywise

How to have a happy divorce according to the UK’s top lawyers – Connie Atkinson shares her advice in The Sunday Times

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Loosening lockdown: practical points for separating couples

The impact of the coronavirus crisis on business valuations in divorce settlements

Compensation claims on divorce - when the clocks can’t be turned back to recover loss of future earning potential

My financial circumstances have changed since COVID-19 – can I vary the spousal maintenance I pay?

Unprecedented times – but unprecedented enough to launch a Barder application?

Am I stuck with my divorce settlement after coronavirus?

The disclosure of law firm partnership capital and income in divorce proceedings

The financial consequences of relying on sole domicile in your divorce petition

The great depositions debate

Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill – what it means and where it is at now

Practical tips and legal issues to consider when separating from your spouse or partner

Using a formula for spousal maintenance - does it add up?

Pensions on divorce – mind the gap!

A partial victory for paying spouses, but maintenance for life lives on

What happens if a pension sharing order is not passed on after divorce?

Reflections on The Split - Episode 6 – The grand finale…

Less hide, more seek - divorce and financial transparency

Reflections on The Split – Episode 3: Behaving badly

Reflections on The Split - Episode 1

Divorce and maintenance orders: Waggott v Waggott signals the end of ‘a meal ticket for life’

Russell Crowe and the divorce auction - stuff matters

Top tips for “silver splitters" and those remarrying in later years

How to save money on divorce and build your best case

Show me the money – key differences between French and English financial order applications in divorce proceedings

Divorce in the digital age - poacher or gamekeeper?

Maintenance pending suit and interim maintenance - where divorce meets poker

Donald Trump divorce – real or fake news when valuing a family business on divorce?

Brexit and cross-border divorces: Judicial co-operation and the special partnership

Practical tips on varying spousal maintenance – does life mean life?

No fault divorce – taking the blame out of divorce to reduce conflict and litigation

Comparing family law in Australia v England and Wales – a world apart in more ways than one

Divorce and summertime blues in the UAE

What happens to a divorce settlement if a spouse dies during or after divorce proceedings?

Global and modern families not bound by borders – themes from the Culture, Dispute Resolution & the Modernised Family conference

10 point guide to prenuptial agreements

The challenges with family law agreements for international couples

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