Now E is for Error free
When considering financial options in divorce, whether engaged in the court route or otherwise, many couples use Form E to record their financial positions. This is a key tool assisting with the fundamental requirement of full and frank disclosure in financial matters.
It has been revealed that since April 2014, the version of the Form E on the Ministry of Justice website has been operating with a software error.
The error means that for the thousands that have used this version of the Form E, there is the potential that any settlements were made using inflated figures. If a party had entered any liabilities or debts onto the form, the software error meant that these would not have been subtracted from the assets as they should have been, therefore artificially inflating the assets of the party. This may have led to unfair or inaccurate divisions of assets between divorcing couples.
This has now been rectified and the email address formE@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk has been set up for anyone with concerns about this. The Ministry of Justice are conducting an urgent investigation, with a view to contacting anyone affected as soon as possible.
It is important to note that for anyone with solicitors acting on their behalf, they are less likely to have been affected. Often, solicitors will have their own software (as indeed we do) and will not rely on the Ministry of Justice website. It is also an important part of financial disclosure that any Form E received by a solicitor is scrutinised for inaccuracies, accordingly picking up on any liabilities that may not have been subtracted. This may not be the case across the board however, and any concerns should be sent to the email address above or communicated to your solicitor.