The Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010) detail the rules by which matrimonial proceedings should be conducted. The FPR 2010 sets out the overriding objective in Part 1, in essence the principle pervading all litigation. This principle includes, inter alia, ensuring that the parties conduct litigation “…on an equal footing.” With the demise of public funding and the clear difficulties in securing a maintenance pending suit order or legal services orders, spouses are increasingly turning to Sears Tooth agreements to fund their matrimonial proceedings.
Sears Tooth agreements are contractual agreements that enable a spouse, who does not have the immediate financial means to pay legal fees, to obtain proper advice and representation within family proceedings. The Sears Tooth agreement offsets the payment of legal costs by assigning a spouse’s rights in any financial provision and costs orders, other than periodical payment (spousal maintenance) orders.
Over the years, the courts have given guidance as to the circumstances in which a Sears Tooth agreement might be appropriate and the requirements when a client enters into such an agreement. Careful consideration should be given to all the circumstances of the case before entering into a Sears Tooth agreement. Enquiries should be undertaken into the assets to ascertain whether there will be sufficient available liquid or easily realisable assets to cover the potential costs, within the parameters of the likely award to the client.
If you would like to know more about ways to fund your divorce and financial proceedings, together with more about how we might help you resolve your family law matters, Hunter & Uro Solicitors offer a free initial consultation. Our specialist family solicitors can help guide you through your options. Contact us on 0207 177 9777 or 01234 889777 for more information.