The Tory party is still reeling from the repercussions of its mini-budget, although the use of the label ‘mini’ might not be appropriate for some of the biggest proposed tax changes of modern times. But what about financial remedies practitioners, or even closer to home, those in the middle of financial remedies proceedings? Knowing what to do at a time when a government can make such far reaching proposals and then carry out a “U turn” is a minefield.
The obvious advice is to take advice. In an economic climate as unpredictable as this, it might be wise to consider speaking with an independent financial adviser as well as your legal adviser in order that greater variables of financial outcome can be predicted and built into financial wealth models. Predicting longer term outcomes of orders made now is more than ever a job for specialists, and perhaps cautious specialists at that.
At a more immediate level, people heading into court tomorrow may not have the mortgage offer that they thought they had. The necessity of ‘turning one household into two’ might be harder than ever to achieve. Pensions reports may further consideration, or additional questions may need to be asked of the pensions expert. Again, it is question of getting as much advice as you can, from all the right people, before the case is finalised.
The question is being asked – should parties be asking for their FDR or final hearing to be adjourned until things have ‘settled down’? The short answer to that is no – who knows when things might settle down and the Court is not likely to be agreeable to cases going off to an unknown date and then being faced with an avalanche of those delayed cases all wanting to be heard at once. The only way to possibly get some control back over the timelines of the case is to consider asking for the proceedings to be stayed so that arbitration can be used. This application would require the consent of both parties, but the uncertainty at the moment is likely to have affected both parties in any case and consent might come more readily than expected.
As for those whose proceedings have concluded very recently, they may well find that the current climate has left them in a different position than they had hoped. It is highly unlikely that the change of economic climate will lead to a court agreeing to change an order which has already been made but, as always, your legal adviser will be best placed to answer any questions you may have.
In short, the so called mini-budget, and the U-turns, mean that asking the right people the right questions is more important than ever. Tread cautiously.
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