Financial matters can, however, be slightly more difficult with an uncooperative spouse. In ordinary cases, it would be hoped that a settlement could be reached ‘outside’ of court proceedings, whether this be between the parties direct, via mediation, or with the assistance of solicitors, as there are numerous benefits to reaching a settlement this way. If, however, one spouse has made it abundantly clear from the outset that they will not cooperate, financial remedy proceedings should be considered without hesitation. This will then afford the parties the benefit of a court-imposed timetable with potential cost sanctions for a disruptive spouse if necessary. Equally, there will also then be a guaranteed ‘finish line’ because if matters cannot be agreed at any point during the proceedings, the case will be listed for a final hearing where a court will determine the outcome. If one spouse refuses to negotiate openly and reasonably to this point, there are, again, costs sanctions that will be considered. This is a complex area with many factors to be taken into consideration but ultimately any final order made will be legally enforceable and steps can be taken to mitigate future potential issues arising. For example, if a jointly owned family home is to be sold, consideration can be given to one party having sole conduct of the sale with a view of avoiding any further issues later down the road when it comes to the home, in practice, being sold.
Overall, whilst an uncooperative spouse is unhelpful in a separation, it does not prevent divorce proceedings being issued or finances being resolved.