Your Witness Statement should set out a short chronology of your relationship, a summary of your financial position, and what you are asking the court to do and why, referring to Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, which is a list of matters which the court needs to consider when determining your case. They are not listed in any order, but the financial needs of minor children, if any, do come first:
- The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire.
- The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
- The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
- The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage.
- Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage.
- The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family.
- The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it.
- In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit.
Your Witness Statement must be very thoroughly prepared as it is your evidence to the court, and you will almost certainly be cross examined on it by your spouse’s legal representative at Final Hearing. You may also be asked questions by the Judge.
Remember that it is your statement even though it would be drafted by your solicitor.