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Setting up a business involves complying with a range of legal requirements. Find out which ones apply to you and your new enterprise.

While poor governance can bring serious legal consequences, the law can also protect business owners and managers and help to prevent conflict.

Whether you want to raise finance, join forces with someone else, buy or sell a business, it pays to be aware of the legal implications.

From pay, hours and time off to discipline, grievance and hiring and firing employees, find out about your legal responsibilities as an employer.

Marketing matters. Marketing drives sales for businesses of all sizes by ensuring that customers think of their brand when they want to buy.

Commercial disputes can prove time-consuming, stressful and expensive, but having robust legal agreements can help to prevent them from occurring.

Whether your business owns or rents premises, your legal liabilities can be substantial. Commercial property law is complex, but you can avoid common pitfalls.

With information and sound advice, living up to your legal responsibilities to safeguard your employees, customers and visitors need not be difficult or costly.

As information technology continues to evolve, legislation must also change. It affects everything from data protection and online selling to internet policies for employees.

Intellectual property (IP) isn't solely relevant to larger businesses or those involved in developing innovative new products: all products have IP.

Knowing how and when you plan to sell or relinquish control of your business can help you to make better decisions and achieve the best possible outcome.

From bereavement, wills, inheritance, separation and divorce to selling a house, personal injury and traffic offences, learn more about your personal legal rights.

Divorce financial settlement: 10-step process

Agreeing a divorce financial settlement is a key milestone when negotiating a divorce from your partner

Some couples are able to decide how to divide up their assets - agreeing their divorce financial settlement - without going to court. To make this financial settlement legally binding, a solicitor can draft a 'consent order' that both parties then sign.

You send this to the court with a completed Form A ('Notice of an application for a financial order'), a Form D81 ('Statement of information for a consent order in relation to a financial remedy') and a £50 fee.

However, many couples fail to agree a divorce financial settlement and end up having to let the court decide for them.

In most cases, the process follows the 10 steps set out below. Agreement may be reached at any point in the process, in which case it is normal to then agree and sign a legally binding court order to confirm the details.

1. Notice of application - Form A

Sending a completed Form A ('Notice of an application for a financial order') starts off the process of financial settlement.

2. First Directions Appointment date

The court sets a date for the First Directions Appointment (FDA). The judge will use this meeting to consider what information each side needs to provide in order to create the divorce financial settlement.

3. Financial statement - Form E

Each of you sends the court a Form E (Financial Statement) at least five weeks before the FDA. You also send a copy to each other.

4. FDA documents

These documents are filed two weeks before the FDA:

  • A concise statement of issues.
  • A chronology of events.
  • A questionnaire to address issues arising from the Form E.
  • A Form G, through which you tell the court whether the FDA meeting can be combined with the Financial Dispute Resolution (FDR) meeting. Typically the FDR meeting takes place after the FDA meeting.

5. Costs - Form H

Each party sends the court a completed Form H just before the FDA meeting, listing any costs they have incurred.

6. FDA meeting at court

The judge will decide what valuations and other evidence must be provided and what questions must be answered by each party in respect of the divorce financial settlement.

Many judges are keen to see whether a resolution meeting (see 8 below) can take place at this stage. If not, a date is set for the FDR meeting.

7. File proposals

Both sides answer questionnaires, prepare evidence, and submit proposals to the court for the divorce financial settlement.

Both sides also submit a second Form H, listing updated costs.

8. FDR hearing

The judge will try to get both parties to agree to a financial settlement. Most divorcing couples settle at this stage (or soon afterwards). If not, the judge sets the date for a final hearing.

9. Further proposals

The negotiations continue between the two sides, including revised proposals for settlement that are sent to the court and to the other party.

10. Final hearing

In the absence of any agreement, and following the submission of updated costs on a Form H1, a new judge decides on a financial settlement.

OUR LAWYERS

Sue Andrews
Partner, family law practice group leader
Putting families first, Sue Andrews is a highly-capable family lawyer who combines practical legal advice with a friendly and sensitive approach.
Chris Hardy
Senior partner, residential property
With more than 30 years’ experience, Chris Hardy is recognised as a trusted adviser for all legal issues in the residential property sector.
Vicky Johnson
Associate
Private wealth specialist advising trustees on taxation and any other issues that may arise for trustees, settlors or beneficiaries.She also advises on wills, inheritance tax planning, POA.

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