If you need the court to assist with financial matters on divorce or dissolution, you and your former partner will have to complete a document called Form E. Your family lawyer may also ask you to (and help you) complete Form E if you want to resolve financial matters with your former partner voluntarily out of court.
At first glance, Form E can seem complicated. However, much of the information you need to provide is fairly straightforward (for example, details of your family home and what bank accounts you have). That being said, it is always important to consult a specialist divorce solicitor to help you fill out the form accurately, ensure it fully represents your financial position and clearly sets out what you expect from the resulting financial arrangement.
Below, we explain exactly what Form E is, why you need it and what needs to be included to make your divorce or civil partnership dissolution as smooth and straightforward a possible.
What is Form E?
Form E is document you must complete and submit to court if you are applying for a Financial Order during divorce, civil partnership dissolution or legal separation (judicial separation) proceedings. It is a financial statement of all your income and expenditure as well as information about your needs and the needs of your children. It is also sometimes referred to as a ‘Form E Financial Statement’ or an ‘E Form’.
Form E can also encourage honesty, fairness and consistency during financial settlement discussions with your former partner. By completing the same form, you can make sure that your partner is disclosing the right details about your financial position. It also saves you the trouble of having to complete it if you later need to go to court – there are strict deadlines for completing the form so doing it early on can save you a lot of stress.
You can download Form E through the Government website but your family lawyer will usually complete the form on your behalf (with your input and approval of the contents).
Is Form E compulsory?
Form E is only compulsory if you or your former partner need to apply to court for a Financial Order. The form helps the court make an accurate assessment of your financial situation and needs and make a fair decision about how your finances should be divided and arranged.
Should you complete a Form E anyway?
For most divorces, a Form E is not strictly required because many couples are able to come to an agreement without involving the courts.
However, where a couple is able to come to a voluntary agreement, they may apply to court to make their agreement legally binding in the form of a Financial Consent Order. For these applications, you must provide the court with information about your finances so that the judge can decide whether your agreement is fair. To assist the court in this, it is typically advisable to provide a Form E as it is a clear statement of your finances and needs.
What is the difference between Form E and Form E1?
As well as Form E, there is also a document called Form E1. Although they sound similar, these forms are used for different purposes.
Form E is used in divorces and dissolutions. Form E1 is used for financial remedies other than a Financial Order or financial relief in international divorce and dissolutions, for example, for claims in respect of children where the parents are not married or in a civil partnership.
There is also another document called Form E2 which is used when applying to vary an existing Financial Order.
How do I complete Form E?
Form E is divided into several sections:
General information about yourself, including:
- Details of your children
- Details about your health and children’s health
- Your children’s educational requirements
- Where you live and your ownership of your home (e.g. tenant or owner-occupier)
Financial details, including:
- Details of properties you own or have an interest in
- Information about your bank accounts and savings
- Details of any investments
- Details of any life insurance policies
- Details of personal belongings worth more than £500, such as cars or furniture
Details of debts and liabilities, such as:
- Bank loans
- Credit cards and store cards
- Hire purchase agreements
- Details of Capital Gains Tax that would fall due on your assets
Details of business assets and directorships, including:
- Your interests in any businesses, whether as a shareholder or partner
- Details of business accounts
- Tax information
- Any directorships you hold or held in the last 12 months
Details of pensions, including:
- Details of all pension plans and entitlements but excluding your Basic State Pension
Details of income, such as:
- Earned income from employment
- Income from self-employment or partnership
- Income from investments, dividends, interest or rental income
- Income from state benefits, including State Pension
- Any other income
Income and capital needs for you and your children
- The income you anticipate you and your children will need to live on either weekly, monthly or annually. For example, to cover expenses for housing, car, fuel and holidays
- Information about any expected changes in income needs, such as a rise in the cost of your housing
- The capital (sum of money) you and your children will need and their costs, such as money needed to buy a home for you and your child to live in or a car to help you get to work
Other information, such as:
- Whether there have been any significant changes in your financial circumstances in the last 12 months
- Details of the standards of living you enjoyed during the marriage or civil partnership
- Any contributions you want the court to take into account, either by you, your former partner, or any other relevant person (both financial and non-financial)
- Any bad behaviour or conduct by your former partner that you feel should be taken into account, for example, extreme spending or gambling
- Other relevant factors, such as any disabilities, plans to remarry, redundancy, and earning capacity
Details of the Order you want the court to make, including:
- Whether you want the family home or whether it should be sold
- Whether you want continuing spousal maintenance payments
- Whether you are seeking a Pension Sharing Order or another pension related court order
- Which matrimonial assets you want to keep
- Whether you have a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement that you want the court to take into account
A Statement of Truth
All information you provide in your Form E must be honest and accurate to the extent of your knowledge. The court will require you to sign a Statement of Truth stating that you believe that the facts provided in the Form E are true.
You must attach all relevant documents to your Form E to evidence your financial statement and complete a Schedule of Documents setting out what documents are included and whether you will provide any documents later on.
The documents you should include if applicable are:
- A valuation of the family home
- Mortgage statements for the family home
- Valuations and mortgage statements for other properties
- Bank account, building society account and savings account statements
- Life insurance policies and valuations
- Business accounts
- A business valuation
- Pension statements
- For employed workers:
- A P60 showing employment income
- Your last three payslips
- A form P11D
- For self-employed workers or partners:
- Tax assessments
- Management accounts
- Any other relevant documents
What happens if my former partner lies on their Form E?
Unfortunately, it is common for people to bend the truth or outright lie during divorce financial proceedings, for example, by failing to declare their assets and/or income on their Form E. Some people even go the extra mile and actively transfer or dispose of assets with the goal of depriving their former partner in the divorce settlement.
However, while it is understandable to feel angry and upset about the divorce, dishonesty is not allowed and (in some extremely serious cases) could even lead to the culprit being fined or sent to prison for contempt of court.
When negotiating the divorce financial settlement, both you and your partner must give full and frank disclosure of your assets and income (usually in the form of Form E). Both of you must also sign a Statement of Truth declaring that you believe the information provided is accurate.
If you suspect that your former partner has been less than honest, it is important to consult your solicitor straight away so they can help you take steps to correct the situation:
- If the divorce financial settlement has not yet been finalised, this could involve:
- If the divorce financial settlement has been finalised, this will involve applying to court to set aside the original settlement. “Fraud unravels all” – if one party is dishonest, the court has the power to re-evaluate the couple’s finances and award the non-fraudulent party more
Do I need a solicitor to help with Form E?
Technically, you do not need to instruct a solicitor to help you complete Form E. However, as set out above, it is a long form and there can be serious consequences for filling it in incorrectly.
A divorce solicitor who specialises in complex financial cases will ensure that your Form E is completed accurately and clearly sets out your needs and expectations for the divorce financial settlement. They can also provide advice where your former partner acts dishonestly, including taking legal action to try to recover hidden assets, discover undeclared income, and prevent the transfer and disposal of assets.
Do you need advice about divorce or civil partnership dissolution?
At Crisp & Co, our lawyers are wholly dedicated to the practice of family law and can offer you a highly specialised and bespoke divorce service.
We regularly handle divorces involving complex financial matters, such as High Net Worth assets and individuals, international assets, business interests and investment portfolios. We are also skilled at helping individuals whose former partners are attempting to conceal assets and income from the divorce proceedings.
We are members of the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation scheme for our independently recognised expertise. We are also members of the Lexcel Accreditation scheme for our general legal practice management skills and high quality standards of client care.
Crisp & Co is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA).