Form E – What is it and how do I fill it in?

4 Nov 2021 | Diana Bastow
man working out divorce finances

What is a Form E?

If you or your former spouse have applied for a financial order as part of your divorce or dissolution of your civil partnership, then the court will insist upon a Form E being completed. Both you and your former spouse must each complete one separately. The information collected in this way will enable the court to understand your financial position and your future needs.

Form E is one of the most important documents the court will consider in relation to determining the financial division of marital assets, and it needs to be completed correctly to ensure you do not prejudice your application for a Financial Order (this is also important if you are the Respondent in the application).

It is a lengthy form, of 28 pages, and requires a great deal of care. It enables you to set out to the court details of all your financial assets, and other relevant considerations the court should contemplate when making any financial order, such as your needs and those of your children.

Having supported numerous clients to complete their Form E and negotiate their financial settlement, our matrimonial lawyers answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Form E.

When do I need to complete Form E?

You should complete and send Form E to the court and your former spouse (or their lawyers) no later than 35 days before the first appointment date with the court. You will be sent a notice of the first appointment from the court office advising you of the date that Form E needs to be filed and served.

What happens if I am late?

If you do not comply with the timescales in completing Form E, the court may make an order for costs against you if this delay prejudices the First Appointment Directions Hearing.

What information do I need to provide?

You have a duty to the court to give full and frank disclosure of all your finances and other relevant circumstances in this form. Do not be tempted to try to conceal assets, as a failure to give full and accurate disclosure may result in any order the court makes being set aside at a later date. If you are found to have been deliberately untruthful, then this will reflect on your credibility and criminal proceedings may be brought against you for fraud under the Fraud Act 2006.

When completing the form, you will note that there is also a requirement to provide documents in support. The documents required are detailed in grey boxes at the start of each section. For most people, it will mean providing a year’s worth of bank statements for any bank account held, in your sole name, jointly, and accounts where you a nominee or beneficiary, proof of income from employment via a P60 for the last year together with your last three payslips; or, proof of self-employed income via last year’s tax return or accounts. Depending on what other assets you have, you will also be expected to provide up-to-date balances or valuations. If you are in any doubt, one of our expert divorce lawyers can advise you on what is required, and we can even organise valuations and obtain updated balances for you if needed.

Form E is divided into five sections, and we shall look at each section in turn below:

Tips on providing general information

The start of this section is relatively self-explanatory and requires you to insert your personal details such as your name; date of birth; occupation; address; and details of your children and dependents.

This section also requires you to advise the court of any health issues you or the children suffer from, excluding minor ailments. This information is required because health concerns for you or your children can affect your earning capacity and financial needs, influencing the level of financial order a court may grant. There is no need to provide medical reports at this stage.

This section requests information about the future educational arrangements for children, together with any child maintenance calculations or orders in place.

You will be asked if you and your former spouse have any other family court orders, as these can influence the level of financial order made. For example, if a child arrangements order exists, then whoever the children are living with would normally receive a greater percentage of equity in the former matrimonial home.

Tips on providing information on your finances

In this section, you will be asked to provide details of all your financial income, assets and liabilities. It is vital that you provide full and frank disclosure, as failure to do so can mean you face costs being awarded against you, and it could lead to any agreement reached or court order made being set aside in the future.
This section is split into 10 parts, but three areas require particular care:

  1. For any land or property in which you own or have a beneficial interest in, it is important that you have an up-to-date valuation and an updated redemption figure for any mortgage to accurately reflect the equity.
  2. Title deed information for the land or property must be provided – if you do not have this information, one of our property lawyers can obtain it.
  3. When it comes to pensions it is expected that you disclose all pension funds, no matter how small, even if you have not paid into them for several years. It is necessary to obtain an up-to-date valuation from the pension provider and this must be no more than one year old. We can assist you in obtaining this information if you do not already hold it.

Tips for providing information on your financial requirements

This section gives you the opportunity to outline to the court your financial needs and that of any dependants in your care. This is important as it is one of the statutory considerations a court must have when deciding how matrimonial finances are to be divided. It can be easy to forget something, but we can assist in analysing your accounts to ensure your financial requirements are all accurately reflected. You may be surprised at just how much you do spend a month on outgoings such as groceries and eating out.
We can also advise you on future requirements and how best to complete this, depending on you and your family’s circumstances. For example, if your car needs changing, this should be factored into your future requirements.

Tips on providing other information

This is an important section of the form and perhaps is the section that will give the court the best insight into your day-to-day life. It gives you the opportunity of letting the court know the lifestyle you have become accustomed to during your marriage, which is a factor the court must consider. For example, if you have been used to luxury holidays or indulgent shopping trips then the court must consider this.

This section also allows you to detail any contributions you have made to the family property, assets or outgoings, or to the welfare of the family. This should not be overlooked and gives you the opportunity to detail your financial contributions and the time, energy and care you put into the family unit.

Finally, you can also tell the court about any bad behaviour or conduct by your spouse during the marriage or civil partnership. You should be aware that it is only in extreme situations that conduct would impact on the way finances are divided. If you feel that your spouse’s conduct should be taken into account, then please raise this with us as early as possible.

When completing ‘Order Sought’

This section is the starting point for your negotiations, and it is important to seek legal advice prior to completing. The types of order you will need will depend on your individual circumstances and the nature of the assets involved in your case.

How we can help

Osbornes Law have a team of expert divorce lawyers in London who can discuss your particular circumstances and complete the Form E on your behalf to ensure your case is best represented to the court.

We deal with both UK and international clients. If you are overseas or outside London, we have high-speed video conferencing facilities and a full online service to ensure you are kept up to date and fully appraised of your case and legal options.

Diana Bastow is a senior divorce lawyer at Osbornes. She has over twelve years of experience in advising clients in relation to divorce and financial disputes with an international element. Diana also acts for HNW individuals which have included offshore property, businesses and trusts. Diana is listed as a ‘rising star’ in the Legal 500 directory.

To speak with Diana call us or e-mail us using the form below and we will contact you back. 

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