The cost-of-living crisis and its impact on financial remedy proceedings

One of the most discussed topics over the last few months has been the anticipated increase in the cost of living in the UK. The Office for National Statistics states that 9 in 10 adults in Britain have reported an increase in their cost of living. Here, Weronika Husejko takes a closer look at the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and how it will impact financial remedy proceedings.

What impact will this have?

Whilst the Government have recently announced measures to help tackle the crisis, including tax cuts and a £400 energy discount, there are other factors such as inflation which will inevitably increase all of our expenditures going forward.

The cost-of-living crisis is expected to see individuals fall into more debt than usual, experiencing difficulties meeting their standard outgoings and ability to afford other activities such as holidays.

This will be ever more relevant for those going through the process of separation, in particular those with a mid to low income. They will be amongst those most impacted by the significant increase in expenditure, one of the reasons being that it can be very difficult to adjust from a household with two incomes to that of one. Outgoings naturally increase upon separation as there are two households to upkeep as opposed to one.

Will this be taken into consideration within financial remedy proceedings?

When financial remedy proceedings are issued, the Court will direct that both parties to complete a Form E of their financial disclosure. Within that form, there is a section relating to the income needs of yourself and your children.

Your income needs are your general expenditure, whether that be on an annual, monthly or weekly basis. This involves detailing a list of your regular outgoings such as rent, utility bills, food and clothing. This is an important part of financial remedy proceedings as it allows the Court to see what your outgoings are and how much you need to meet them. They can then compare it to how much income you have.

You are given the opportunity to state not only your ‘current’ income needs but also your ‘future expected’ income needs. This is because the Court consider both current and future needs. Therefore, in circumstances where you expect your income needs to change, whether that be higher or lower, you can make this clear to the Court within your Form E.

The Form E also includes a ‘liabilities’ section which allows you to disclose any debts you have. Generally, ‘hard’ loans e.g. bank loans or credit cards will be taken into account by the Court, even if they have been incurred post-separation. As a result, if your debts increase due to the current economic circumstances, this may be relevant within financial proceedings.

It follows that if you have been or are going to be impacted by the cost-of-living increase, this may be taken into consideration by the Court within financial remedy proceedings.

  • Weronika Husejko

    Trainee Solicitor