Most people (and legal representatives) simply “fill out” the Form E. We have found that such passive filling out the form, is a missed opportunity. The Form E should be seen as an opportunity to put your full side of the story. The boxes in the Form E should not be seen to limit ones answers but the opportunity should be seized to evidence all parts of your case. We consider that the Form E should be treated like any other evidence in litigation, it should be complete and positively progressing your case.
At Garner & Hancock we help you complete the Form E so that you do not prejudice your case.
Helping you with the Form-E
Financial Disclosure within Divorce proceedings
Here are some general pointers. However, if you do not get this stage right this could delay resolution of your financial matters by the court and or your spouse inviting scrutiny to your disclosure.
We at Garner & Hancock provide more detailed information and context to your disclosure and do not simply rely on the general form provided by the court. We assist you in drafting a fuller response beyond what has been asked for so that the court and your spouse understand the following:
We now give you general guidance on completing your Form E.
What is the Form E?
This is the long form providing all our financial details including the needs of yourself and your children. You should also enclose a comprehensive needs schedule which your solicitor should provide to you.
Why am I asked to provide 12 months of statements
This gives both parties and the court a chance to see if there have been any changes in your circumstances and for them to understand your life style.
My spouse is hiding something, how can I discover what he/she has?
A good solicitor will be able to look at the Form E and see irregularities and signs like regular payments out or in (showing possible other undisclosed assets or income), life style which does not match income, missing documents etc. There is also a questionnaire which can be presented during the proceeding asking your spouse directly about suspicions you might have. But the Judge can scrutinise such questions to avoid onerous or nonsense questions.
I don’t have all the information required by the Form E
Just say ‘to follow’ in the answer box for any information you are not yet aware of. Ideally you should also enclose a letter showing that you have requested this information.
I don’t understand the pension form of the Form E.
Do not worry, just send the form to the pension provider, and they will usually fill it in. If they are unable to help then the most important information is the CETV, the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value. This is good starting point to value/compare pensions. But be very careful, the CETV can be misleading with regards to some pensions like final salary schemes or those in the police or civil service or in payment, and may be undervalued. Take advice from a pension specialist, the cost can be worthwhile.
I am completing the my schedule of expenses what should I put in? Can include things like Sky TV and Gym membership?
Firstly you need a comprehensive schedule of outgoings and expenses. Please click here to download one.
You can include such expenses as Sky TV, Gym, holidays, even pension contributions, if these were things that you paid for whilst you were married.
How much do I put for food, toiletries etc?
Look at your bank/credit card statement for 12 months and work out an average
Can I claim savings and pension provision?
If you are a regular saver or have been putting money in a savings account then you can.
Do I need to Count my children’s money in the Form E?
Definitely yes. This is counted as family money.
I borrowed money from family to fund legal fees can I put these down?
Yes, but show this transparently, whom have you borrowed it from and what terms have you agreed to pay it back.
I borrowed some money from my family when I bought the property can I claim this back to repay it?
Probably not, as this is regarded as a soft loan. Unless you have a written agreement or you have been paying it back regularly it may be ignored. Ideally you should have entered into a trust deed and recorded such payment. It could also be claimed by the person lending the money that they have an interest in the property. You should legal advice early on such a situation. Ideally at the time the money is lent.
Why do I have to swear the Form E?
This is because if there is inaccurate information or information that is missing, these could pose problems later on with the following consequences.
- It is a criminal offence to lie on a sworn document.
- Any agreement that you enter into or ordered can be set aside (ie it can be cancelled) if later it is found that the financial information is incorrect or incomplete.
- A costs order can be made against you.
- You may be discredited in your evidence if this matter comes before the court.
There is a question about bad behavior of my spouse, can I write down all the things that my spouse has done to me?
No, this should be used with advice from your solicitor. Usually if your spouse has been dishonest about his finances or flitted the money away not without the best intentions of the family.
My bank /credit card statements are changing day to day, what should I put in the figures?
This is a snapshot picture of your finances as at the date of swearing of your form E.
Can I put estimates in the Form E?
You can rely on estimates, but you should seek to verify these figures as soon as possible. Recklessly completing the form E can be dangerous and the consequences have been outlined above.
Once the Form E has been completed, do I need to keep collecting and keeping financial information?
Yes, as you will be asked to update your form E at every hearing. You should also tell your solicitor if your financial circumstances change. You have an on going obligation to do so right through to the end of the case.
House prices are changing, how can I protect myself in getting the best financial deal?
Recent case law is indicating that courts are much more aware of fluctuating house prices and it is important to get an accurate assessment of your property. If you believe that a simple appraisal from an estate agent does not take into account such things as damage in the property, subsidence, development opportunities or the property has a particular feature, then it may be advisable to get proper consideration from an expert in valuation rather than an appraisal from an estate agent.
I am deciding to stop my overtime, how does this affect the financial division?
You should take care that if you stop for reasons related to the financial affairs of the divorce, then the courts may simply ignore that you have given up your overtime. This is called Potential Earning Capacity. It is expected you are working at your potential (see further questions below). If your employer has stopped overtime, then this will have an impact on maintenance. As long as the cut in overtime is not your fault then it will not adversely affect you.
My spouse does not work or works part-time, I am sure he/she can work longer or start work?
Again, the question of Potential Earning Capacity needs to be looked at. Your solicitor may ask for his/her CV, seek information from his/her employers as to promotion/increase in work hours. Your spouse has a positive duty to justify his/her position as to work. However it does depend on things such as costs of child care, tax breaks, and practicality if your spouse should work/increase her work hours. Also, if your spouse is dividing their time between work and child care, then it may be unreasonable for the courts to consider their potential earning capacity to be higher on the basis that extra hours could be worked.
My spouse has another partner, how does this affect the financial relief?
This may have the following effect:
- This may reduce outgoings if they plan on living together or marrying
- This has no affect on the paying part of Child Support as this is based on Child Maintenance.
- This information is required in the form which accompanies the Consent Order called the Statement of Information.
- It will impact on the final financial agreement and will go towards showing your future needs
Request for a Legal Consultation
Garner & Hancock realise that the prospect of pursuing a legal matter can be challenging, so we offer an initial phone consultation to discuss your options, and to give you information that will help you make the right choices affecting your case.
We believe our business begins and ends with you and your needs, as our client. Therefore, we are committed to providing the best client care and advice which will give you confidence that your matter is handled with the utmost care.
How Can We Help You?
We’re here to assist you. Simply send us your query, and we’ll provide an initial consultation to anyone seeking legal assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us anytime for help with your legal matters.