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The D81 Form – What is it and why do I need to complete one?

D81 form

What is a D81 form?

The D81 form (also known as “Statement of information for a consent order in relation to a financial remedy” or Form D81) is a document used in family law proceedings in England and Wales to provide financial and other information in support of an application to approve a financial Consent Order following a divorce or dissolution. It includes details of  the parties’ income, assets, debts, and expenses.

The form is used when the parties to a divorce or dissolution have reached an agreement on how to divide their finances and are seeking the Court to approve a proposed Consent Order into a legally binding Order.

What is a D81 form used for?

The purpose of a Form D81 is to provide a Judge with a detailed summary of both parties’ current financial situation, and to allow the Judge to better understand whether the financial agreement reached by the parties is fair. It provides details as to the impact of the agreed proposed settlement on both parties to enable the Judge to approve – or reject – the terms of the proposed Consent Order.

Who is required to complete the form?

Both parties to the proposed Consent Order must fill in the Form D81. This can be done individually with each party completing their own separate form, or jointly with both parties completing the same form.

We always recommend for the D81 to be completed jointly as it makes it easier for the Judge (and for the parties) to see the whole financial picture clearly in one document.

What information must be provided on a Form D81?

 The form contains 23 pages and the following information must be provided:

  • Details of how the financial agreement contained in the proposed Consent Order was reached.
  • Details of both parties’ current assets such as property, savings, or shares.
  • Details of both parties’ current income – this should include income from all sources, including investment income and benefits.
  • The impact the proposed consent order will have on the parties’ capital and income.
  • Whether there are any likely changes to future income.
  • Explanations of the proposed financial settlement especially if there are any areas that are unusual or require commentary.
  • Details of future living arrangements, especially where both parties and any children will live.
  • Details of any new relationships or intention to cohabit – the court will need to know this as it can impact on living costs and outgoings.

The D81 form contains the following questions:

Questions 1 – 7

These questions ask for details about you, your ex, your marriage or civil partnership, your divorce or dissolution of your partnership and your children.

You need to inform the Court how you reached your agreement – e.g., by discussion between yourselves, through mediation, through discussions with legal assistance, etc.

Questions 8 – 9

In these questions you will need to provide details about your capital and income as it is now, BEFORE the proposed financial agreement takes effect.

Question 8 is about your assets and liabilities – the things you own and what you owe to banks, credit cards, other loans etc.

The first half of this question is about the value of house(s) left over after mortgages you owe on them have been deducted, and a total of other assets – e.g., bank accounts, savings, investments, ISAs. Other assets also include cars, motorbikes, and any individual thing you own worth over £500. This could include computers, laptops, other tech, pieces of art, furniture, watches, jewellery, etc.

The second half covers money you owe – bank overdrafts, credit card balances, loans etc. You also must include valuations (CETV) of any private pension schemes you have. You will have to ask your pension scheme administrators to give you this valuation in writing.

Question 9 asks for a breakdown of all your monthly income. This should include any maintenance that you pay between yourselves, and any maintenance you receive or pay from other relationships – e.g., previous marriages, children with other partners.

Questions 10 – 11 – Future capital and income

Questions 10 & 11 are the same as 8 & 9 but show the situation you expect AFTER the agreement you are asking the Court to approve takes effect.

By completing this question, you are providing the Court with a clear picture of how things will look for the each of you in the future if the proposed Consent Order is approved.

Questions 12 – 14

These questions are where you can provide the Court with extra information and explain why the proposed Consent Order is fair and reasonable and why you have made the agreement reached.

Examples of the sorts of things that can be included here are:

  • Details of any medical conditions.
  • Details of any changes in circumstances.
  • Details of Pre or post nuptial, or other agreements.
  • Why you have agreed how to split the assets, especially if it is not a 50/50 division.
  • How each of you expect that you will have enough money to support yourselves in the future especially if you are agreeing a clean break settlement.

Questions 15 – 22

In these questions, you need to specify where each of you, including your children, will live in the future and whether you will live in these homes as owners or whether you will be renting.

You then need to confirm what your current relationship situation is – e.g., if you have remarried or intend to, or are living with somebody else, or whether you expect to be single in the immediate future.

Questions 17-22

These are boxes to tick about mortgage and pension details.

Why is it necessary to complete the D81?

Completion of the form is mandatory if you are asking the Court to seal (approve) a financial Consent Order. Without providing the Judge with detailed financial information, it is impossible for a Judge to decide whether the financial agreement reached is fair.

The information provided in a Form D81 must be accurate and up to date. Accordingly, you must show any changes that have taken place since you completed any earlier financial disclosure, for example since the exchange of Financial Statements (Forms E).

What is the difference between a D81 and Form E?

The Form D81 and Form E serve different purposes in the divorce process.

The Form E –  Financial Statement is normally used in the early stages of the divorce process when you are disclosing your finances and are beginning discussions and negotiations as to how assets should be divided.

The Form D81 in contrast is used once an agreement is reached, and the parties’ are asking the Court to approve it, so it can become legally binding. A Form D81 also explains the practical impact of the proposed Consent Order on family finances and future living arrangements.

Both forms may be used as part of the divorce process, but usually at different times.

Is completion of a Form D81 compulsory?

Yes, it is compulsory if you are asking the Court to seal (approve) a financial Consent Order. A Judge will not consider a proposed Consent Order without having completed Form D81(s) from both parties.

The Judge’s role when considering a proposed Consent Order is not to simply act as a ‘rubber stamp’, but to scrutinise the divorce financial settlement and achieve an outcome which is “as fair as possible in all the circumstances”.

The information provided in the completed Statement of Information form allows the Judge to see how the proposed divorce financial settlement will look following the implementation of the proposed Consent Order.

The D81 must therefore be completed accurately and truthfully as it forms a basis for the court to make decisions regarding the financial settlement.  At the end of the form, you will be asked to sign a Statement of Truth which warns that the making of a false statement could result in contempt of court proceedings.

If it later transpires that you have not been truthful in the completion of the form, any Consent Order could then be set aside and the whole process would need to be repeated. You may also be held in contempt of court.

How important is the D81 form?

The D81 form is very important. It was updated in March 2022 from 6 pages long to 23 pages. The reason for the update was because many Judges felt the information provided in the previous form was not sufficiently detailed or clear. In particular the judiciary felt the previous form did not properly demonstrate the financial net effect of the proposed Consent Order.

The new D81 Statement of information addresses this by requiring a much more detailed analysis of the impact of the proposed consent order and the reasoning behind the proposed Order.

The main changes are as follows:

  1. In relation to capital (lump sum) orders, it is now necessary to describe in some detail (a) the extent of any departures from equality and, where they exist, (b) to explain them.
  2. Where the proposed consent order includes an income clean break, the new form requires the parties to explain why that income clean break is fair and how the parties will meet their own income needs in the future.
  3. The new d81 statement of information requires the parties to explain where they will each live in the future, where their children will live and who will own their property and who will be renting.
  4. The new d81 form also requires far more detail in relation to each parties’ current income and now requires the parties to submit information as to the impact of child support assessment by the CMS and the impact of interim spousal maintenance.

The D81 Statement of Information is also important to provide up to date disclosure. Each party is required to sign the form to confirm they have read what their ex has put on their side of the form and signed a Statement of Truth. This confirms that both parties have fully disclosed everything.

A recent Court of Appeal decision in Bogolyubova v Bogolyubov and Privatbank [2023] reminded us of the important role the D81 form plays in financial matters arising from a divorce or dissolution. It confirmed that the Courts’ role is inquisitorial in nature as it will scrutinise the parties’ D81’s to decide whether the proposed financial agreement is fair.

Is a D81 form legally binding?

When you sign the D81 you must confirm you have provided full and honest disclosure and all the facts contained in the form are true. If it later transpires that either party has made a false statement, they may be held in contempt of court, and any Consent Order could also be set aside.

Who sees the completed D81 form?

Both parties’ and the Judge will see the completed form(s). When the Judge considers the draft Consent Order and proposed divorce financial settlement, he/she will also consider the D81 form to see how the proposed divorce financial settlement will look following the implementation of the proposed Consent Order.

Do I need to disclose a new relationship in the D81?

If you are already living with another person, or planning to do so or you have remarried, you must disclose your new relationship on the D81. The reason for this is to ascertain the impact of the new relationship and whether your new partner can contribute towards your living costs and expenses. If your new partner has their own income, it is very likely that they will be expected to make a financial contribution towards your joint living expenses.

What happens if one party lies on their Form D81?

The D81 must be completed accurately and truthfully as it forms a basis for the Judge to make a decision regarding the financial settlement.  At the end of the form, it is necessary to sign a Statement of Truth which warns that the making of a false statement or providing false information could result in contempt of court proceedings. If a person is found to have been deliberately untruthful, criminal proceedings may be brought against them which may result in a fine and/or imprisonment.  

In addition, if it transpires that a person has not been truthful in the completion of the form D81, any Consent Order could be set aside (reversed) and the whole process would need to be repeated. There may also be cost implications for the offending party if the Consent Order is set aside.

How do I know if my divorce financial settlement is fair?

Whilst there is no set formula that a Judge uses when it comes to determining a financial settlement on divorce, there are a set of principles that a Judge will use to decide whether the proposed Consent Order is fair and achieves a fair outcome. The three key principles in achieving fairness are: needs, sharing, and compensation. As long as full financial disclosure has been provided by both parties, and the proposed financial agreement meets the needs of both parties’; in the majority of cases a proposed Consent Order is approved by the Judge.

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “The D81 Form – What is it and why do I need to complete one?

  1. My wife and I are in the process of divorce, she wants me to fill in and sign a D81. I don’t want anything from my ex wife and I refuse to sign a D81 form as Its to intrusive.

    Can I refuse to sign a D81 Form

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