What issues do we consider and advise on when applying for maintenance pending suit?
Time estimates at court are an important consideration.
Most hearings in court that deal with maintenance pending suit applications will last more than two hours. What this means for clients is that it is hard to get a quick listing in the family courts.
Britton and Time Solicitors never underestimate the time required for the application to be properly heard by a judge. If a short time estimate is given to the court to obtain a quicker listing, this will almost always cause frustration with the judge and can result in an costs order made against the applicant client, especially if the case has to be adjourned after only being part-heard.
Getting a listing sooner.
If the court lists the hearing and it is too far ahead, Britton and Time Solicitors can advise on applying for an “expedited hearing”. However, there is a small risk that it won’t be heard, but both parties can attend the court and it is expected that some sort of concession can be reached. If the other party is going to be aggressive, the costs of a wasted hearing may be unaffordable to a client.
Constructive use of court time.
A maintenance pending suit application should only be made when the court’s involvement is clearly required (see the case of BD v FD, at paragraph 34 for further reading). If an application for maintenance pending suit has already been made, it is vital that the hearing is productive. For example, this could be by agreeing a First Appointment directions if the maintenance pending suit hearing is listed before the First Appointment.
In some cases we will ask the court to list both hearings together to save court time and our clients additional costs.
A maintenance pending suit application and financial dispute resolution appointment will not and cannot be heard at the same time.
A judge at a financial dispute resolution appointment (known as an FDR) cannot hear a maintenance pending suit application or vary a maintenance pending suit order (the case of Currey v Currey  provides further explanation).
Britton and Time Solicitors understands the importance in not obtaining a merged listing. this is because if the judge reads any without prejudice correspondence or submissions, he or she will be prohibited from hearing the maintenance pending suit hearing, even if the maintenance pending suit is to precede the financial dispute resolution hearing.