Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Shailesh Vara, MP, Minister for the Courts and Legal Aid, has issued a written update about the previous online version of divorce financial disclosure Form E. According to the Minister, although the faulty form was replaced on the 14th January 2016, 3638 of the 36,527 relevant cases reviewed contained the earlier calculation error, of which 1403 are still live.
If you may be affected by this error (regardless of whether your case is closed, or still live), you should receive a letter setting out your options from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). However, if you’re still concerned, you should write to HMCTS at their dedicated email address: formE@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk
Form E is the detailed disclosure form used by divorcing couples applying to the court for a financial order. The online version of Form E should accurately calculate the parties’ assets and liabilities, and provide other relevant information. However, according to a BBC report, there was a fault in the version downloadable from April 2014 until recently, meaning the online calculations were likely to be inaccurate. A Gov.uk statement confirms that the problem has now been sorted out, but gives a contact email address for those potentially affected.
Mediators use a paper equivalent of Form E, and will go through the figures with the couple in considerable detail, often on a flip chart. Many mediators also provide both clients with a draft Open Financial Summary once their disclosure is complete. This sets out all the figures for consideration and confirmation before any proposed settlement is reached, the Memorandum of Understanding prepared by the mediator, and the clients apply to the Court for a consent financial order. It also gives them time to go through everything themselves between sessions, and the opportunity to take independent legal advice, which is always recommended alongside the mediation process.
Filling in your Financial Statement (Form E) in divorce proceedings can be daunting, even if you don’t have a lot of money, or other assets. The Family Justice Council has just launched a new video to help you with this, available online on the Advice Now website, where there is also written guidance on how to fill in Form E.
The video is free to view, and gives lots of practical information about how to complete Form E. However, this help is not the same as legal advice. It’s always best to see a family solicitor if you’re divorcing, so that you can get specific advice about your individual circumstances.