04 Mar Form E and the division of finances after divorce
Divorce can be messy and emotionally taxing for everyone involved, and sometimes there is a high level of conflict. It can feel like a significant obstacle to overcome, particularly if you’re representing yourself in court. One of your primary concerns might be the division of finances after divorce and how to complete the necessary documentation. In order to achieve a financial settlement, both ex-spouses must declare their finances, and this is where an important form comes in: Form E.
Form E is the Financial Statement for a Financial Order and it’s completed by both parties so the court can make a financial order for formal division of finances after divorce. It’s really important to fill Form E in correctly, so read on for some advice on what you need to know and how to complete it.
What information do I need to provide in Form E?
You’ll both be asked to provide details on your income, assets, any pensions you contribute to, and your expenses and outgoings. You must fully disclose all assets or income so the court can fairly judge how your finances should be divided after divorce. You’ll also provide details of any children and their financial and health needs, and information on any child support maintenance arrangements.
Form E requires you to attach documentation to support your declarations, including:
- a mortgage redemption statement and property valuation/rental contract;
- bank statements;
- documentation relating to any debts;
- a market valuation of any investments;
- two years of accounts if you run a business (and details of any shares you have in the business if applicable);
- wage slips and your most recent P60, as well as evidence of income from benefits or property;
- Life insurance policies;
- Evidence of any pensions you pay into.
The documents you need to supply will depend on your particular circumstances.
What if I don’t disclose everything
It’s really not a good idea to try and hide things from the court such as assets or income, or to overstate things like expenses or financial needs. You have a duty to give full and accurate disclosure in Form E so that the division of finances after divorce can be done correctly.
If you don’t provide all the necessary information your case may be set aside which will delay getting your finances sorted. You or your ex could also be fined or end up receiving less in the settlement if lies are exposed. In the worst case scenario, criminal charges could be brought against either of you if you’re found to have lied on the form.
Bear in mind that, if you think your ex-spouse has been untruthful or is not disclosing fully, you have the opportunity to raise a questionnaire where you ask them specific points to respond to. The intention is to ‘remind’ them of things they may have omitted and then disclose it, and if that doesn’t work you can raise it with the court.
How can I make sure I complete Form E correctly?
You might not know where to start when you first take a look at Form E. It’s a large document which requires a lot of supporting documentation and it might seem a bit overwhelming. The first thing to know is that the government has provided official guidance on how to complete it correctly. There’s also a checklist for attaching evidence at the end of the form. However, I would suggest seeking some personalised support with this, ideally from a legal professional with experience of divorce and finances.
Helping people with the division of finances after divorce is something I specialise in as a Family Law Barrister and McKenzie Friend. Here’s an example of how I recently helped a lady navigate her financial application and complete Form E to get a satisfactory outcome from her financial hearing.
(*Name has been changed)
Hayley told me that she struggles with completing paperwork and the thought of tackling Form E was overwhelming her. With a little bit of back and forth we completed the form together step by step, making sure to avoid any mistakes that could affect her case. I then helped with writing accompanying documents for Hayley as she didn’t feel confident enough to do this.
Once we had the initial papers completed we sent them to her ex spouse and Hayley then felt a lot better about things. However, her ex was not very responsive and when he did respond he stated that he could not provide his paperwork due to Covid. Our response to him was that this still needed to be addressed despite the pandemic.
After a while we had heard nothing from him and the hearing was coming up. Hayley contacted him again and reminded him of this, only to receive a response that he was too busy to do anything. Hayley contacted him again the day before the hearing, and at this point her ex stated that he did not plan to attend the hearing.
I copied all of his replies into an email and Hayley sent them to the court before the hearing. Due to the pandemic and court hearings moving online, the hearing was to be conducted by video. Hayley was understandably anxious about the hearing, particularly with it being online, but received support and reassurance from myself and her family.
During the hearing, the judge was very sympathetic and reassuring toward Hayley, and by the end of it she felt so much better – in fact she was buzzing from having tackled the challenge head on and overcome her fears.
The outcome of the hearing was that her ex was given a penal notice to provide his paperwork (with the threat of imprisonment if he doesn’t deliver on time) and the process has moved to the next stage. The Judge told Hayley that if her ex fails to attend next time an order will be made granting her request – a very simple, clean break financially from the divorce.
Hayley was very happy with this outcome and was grateful for my support, which I was only too happy to provide. I love helping people who are representing themselves in court to feel more confident about the process and as prepared as possible. That’s why I offer training on various aspects of self-representation, as well as individual services to help people one-to-one.
If you’re worried about the division of finances after divorce and would like some advice, I’ve got a FREE lecture coming up on Monday 8 March 2021 all about preparing your own financial paperwork which you might find useful. In the lecture I’ll give a brief overview of the documents involved in financial settlements after divorce (including Form E) and how to prepare them.
This leads up my more in-depth course on the topic on 20 March 2021, which I’ll provide more information about next week.
And why not sign up to my mailing list to be the first to hear about new blog posts, training and updates?
You can sign up here: