FINANCE

Questions about the Form E

1. What is a Form E and what is so important about it?
The Form E is a long form providing all our financial details including the needs of yourself and your children. Most people 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.

2. 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.

3. My spouse is hiding something, how can I discover what he/she has?
We will be able to look at your spouse’s 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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:
(a) It is a criminal offence to lie on a sworn document.
(b) 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.
(c) A costs order can be made against you.
(d) You may be discredited in your evidence if this matter comes before the court.

8. 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.

9. 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 notify the Court if your financial circumstances change. You have an on going obligation to do so right through to the end of the case.

10. 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.

11. 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 full potential. 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.

12. 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 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. My spouse has another partner, how does this affect the financial settlement?
This may reduce outgoings if they plan on living together or marrying

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