If you’re in the process of obtaining a divorce or separation, you and your ex-spouse are expected to provide a full, honest, relevant and ongoing financial disclosure to each other, giving full details of your financial circumstances. This is done through a Form E financial statement outlining your financial order but what is it?
The Form E Financial Statement Explained
A Form E financial statement is a detailed legal document that you must complete if you want to finalise financial matters in court following a divorce or separation.
It’s important to know that Form E is a document that requires you to sign a statement of truth.
Deliberately lying on a Form E financial statement could be treated as contempt of court and is punishable by imprisonment or a fine under the 2006 Fraud Act.
Completing a Form E document can be quite daunting and confusion can sometimes arise, particularly towards the back of the document when you will be asked if there has been any ‘conduct’ that needs to be taken into account.
The court means ‘financial conduct’ that has had an impact on the matrimonial assets, and not just the bad behaviour of one party.
When completing the form, you will also be asked to disclose your income, assets, pensions, outgoings and expenses, plus the financial needs of yourself and your child(ren).
Form E sets out the details of the financial orders that you are seeking. A financial order in your divorce or separation case clarifies how your finances will be distributed and will be legally binding upon both parties.
In most cases, a financial order will additionally state that no future claims can be made against one another.
Is a Form E mandatory in divorce?
No. A Form E is not a requirement for every divorce. It only becomes mandatory if you or your spouse request a financial order through the courts.
In this scenario, the courts will need you to both fill out a Form E. This will enable them to adjudicate fairly on your current financial circumstances.
Should you and your ex-spouse want to create a financial order without going through the courts, you can use what is called a financial remedy order which is made by consent. This document will still need to be approved by the Court and you will need to disclose information on your financial situation by completing a Statement of Information for a Consent Order.
It’s possible that you will still need to complete a Form E informally and exchange this document with your spouse before an agreement is reached.
If you and your ex-spouse can agree on how to split your finances, and it’s considered to be fair, there will be no need for you to go to Court. The Court will simply consider the financial remedy order without the parties’ attendance and then send the approved in the post.
This is the ideal scenario. In fact, family law group Resolution encourages, and expects, parting couples to voluntarily begin financial disclosure at an early stage in proceedings to aid negotiations and increase the likelihood of resolving financial matters amicably in order to avoid the acrimony and fees associated with going to court.
Form E supporting documents
When filing a Form E financial statement, you will need to submit a number of other documents. These documents will serve as evidence to prove that the financial details you have disclosed in the Form E are correct.
The final page of your Form E financial statement will show a checklist with information about the documents you will need to provide along with your Form E.
The documents will include:
- Matrimonial home evaluation
- Matrimonial home mortgage
- Any other properties
- Personal bank, building society and national savings accounts
- Other investments
- Life insurance policies
- Business interests
- Pension and PPF compensation
- Employment income & self-employment or partnership income
Not all of these documents will apply to you as an individual, for example, a mortgage. If this is the case, you can simply state ‘not applicable’.
It may be the case that you don’t have access to a required document. In this scenario, you can state ‘to follow’. This means that you have requested the required information but it’s not yet available to you.
What happens after a Form E is exchanged?
Following the exchange of your Form E financial statement with your ex-spouse, you can file a questionnaire. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions of your ex-spouse based on the financial information they have disclosed.
If you believe your ex-spouse has not disclosed full details of their finances or you think the information they have provided is incorrect, this is your opportunity to question them.
Bear in mind that once you have exchanged forms, you are still legally obligated to disclose to each other any changes in your financial situation and circumstances.
Form E not to be confused with Form E1
When completing a Form E financial statement, it’s possible that you will come across Form E1. The two forms are very similar, so it’s easy to confuse them.
Form E is the document used during divorce or dissolution, whereas Form E1 is used for financial relief after an overseas divorce or dissolution.
Help with your Form E financial statement
The Form E financial statement document can be quite overwhelming. It’s packed with questions, which Holland Family Law recommends that you read first before answering.
To make it easier, it’s advised that you find the documents you will need to accompany your Form E.
It’s crucial that you supply the courts with full details of your financial circumstances, or you may face the consequences.