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Form E frenzy - a storm in a teacup?

It was announced yesterday that the Ministry of Justice is investigating errors in the Form E financial statement available on their website, amongst fears that this may have resulted in incorrect settlements. 

News coverage has suggested that the section of the Form E which adds up a party’s total assets contained “critical errors” which could have resulted in judgments being decided based on faulty information.

The Form E is used by couples going through contested financial proceedings at court during divorce to disclose their assets, income, pension and other financial resources to their former spouse. The form can be used when attempting to reach an agreement without the need to involve the court from the outset, but there are other financial disclosure options available to parties, such as detailed asset schedules, supported by documentary evidence.

In reality, the vast majority of cases are not decided on the Form E itself. In cases where agreement is reached without issuing court proceedings, the court will not see the Form E. Even within financial proceedings, it is unlikely that the judge will consider the Form E in detail, given time constraints, but will rather be guided by asset schedules produced by a party’s legal representative for ease of reference.

At TLT we use a different software package and our own asset schedules, meaning that our figures are always double-checked to avoid any errors occurring. We do not use the Form E on the government website so our clients should not be affected by this. 

For those who reach an agreement about their finances on divorce, when the consent order is filed at court, a separate financial document called a statement of information is filed. Completing this will assist to identify if there were any errors in the Form E.

If you are concerned that there may have been errors on your Form E, or have used the government software to help compile your financial disclosure, please contact us for further advice.

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at December 2015. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions on www.TLTsolicitors.com

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