What is a Form E and why is it in the news?

Posted on January 29, 2016

A Form E is the financial form that divorce couples usually complete to set out a clear picture of their financial circumstances.

So why is this in the news?

Well, the Form E on the government website was not right. There was an error in the computerised calculations on the form so that the figures on the form were not added up correctly. The effect of the error was that debts were not accounted for meaning that someone could look better off than they actually were.

Do I need to be worried about this? If you had or have a solicitor helping you with your finances, probably not as most solicitors bought their own specialist software many years ago before the government put free forms on their website. Also, the vast majority of solicitors do not use the free government forms.

If you did not have a solicitor helping you and you used the free government form, you might be affected by the error. It could mean that if a settlement was agreed or an order was made by the court, the information on which it was based was wrong and so the final financial arrangement has the potential to be unfair to one of the parties if their debts were not taking into account.

And finally…. it looks like the numbers affected are small but this is a bit embarrassing for the government and not helping their track record on computer software at a time when there are more and more litigants in person.

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