Divorce can be messy and emotionally taxing for everyone involved. 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. 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 the 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 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 about 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 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 when completing 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. 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 hasn’t disclosed everything, you have the opportunity to raise a questionnaire where you ask them to respond to specific points. The intention is to ‘remind’ them of things they may have omitted which they can then disclose, 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 UK 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 in divorce and finances.
Helping people with the division of finances after the divorce is something I specialise in as a family law barrister and McKenzie friend. Here’s an example of how I recently helped someone navigate their financial application and complete Form E to get a satisfactory outcome from their 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. So, I broke it down into manageable chunks and we completed the form together step-by-step. I then wrote the 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. When her ex 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.
We still heard nothing from him, and the hearing was coming up, so Hayley contacted him again and reminded him. He continued to be uncooperative and the day before the hearing stated that he did not plan to attend. We sent all of his email responses to the court before the hearing.
Due to the pandemic, the hearing was to be conducted remotely. 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, Judge Barrington was sympathetic and reassuring towards Hayley, and by the end of it, she felt better. Her confidence had grown knowing that the Judge had acknowledged and commended her for representing herself.
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 didn’t deliver on time) and the process moved to the next stage. Judge Barrington told Hayley that if her ex failed to attend next time, an order would be made granting her request – a very simple, clean break financially from the divorce.
Hayley was very happy with this outcome, an outcome she was entitled to. It’s why I assist people who are representing themselves in court. It’s why I offer training on various aspects of self-representation, as well as individual services to help people one-to-one.
So, if you’re worried about the division of finances after divorce, and would like some advice, book a slot to discuss your case. Or, if you want to learn all you need to know about representing yourself when going to court about your finances, check out my short course.
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