Form E – Part 2

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This section deals with completing the narrative sections of the Form E which start at Section 4.1.

If you would like some guidance with regard to completing the rest of the form then please see the previous article on the Form E – Form E Explained – Part 1.

Section 4 is basically designed to cover the information that a judge will take into account when deciding what financial settlement is appropriate.

First of all in Section 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 you have to confirm any change in assets or income during the last 12 months or likely to occur in the next 12 months.

This is to ensure that if a judge is dealing with the case he or she is aware of any recent disposals of assets (eg giving money to family to “look after” or if there is likely to be a change, such as an increase in employment income in the next 12 months.

Section 4.2 requires details of the standard of living enjoyed by you and your spouse during the marriage.

This is one of the things that is taken into account in the settlement but note inevitably, if the same pot of capital and income is now having to finance two households, both parties will need to make cut backs.

In this section do not just say reasonable, good or extravagant but give some examples such as if you were able to afford private school fees, to eat out or holidays abroad.

Section 4.3 requires details of contributions that have been made to the family property because, in some cases, a judge may agree that some assets are “non-matrimonial” and therefore not divided in the same way as “matrimonial” assets.

If, for example, a property or assets have been inherited or one person had significant assets at the start of the marriage, then this should be set out here.

You should also include details of significant gifts for example from family that have been made during the marriage.

Section 4.4 asks for details of bad behaviour or conduct by the other party.

It is important to note that, as this section says, it will only be taken into account in very exceptional circumstances.

I say to clients that you should treat these words as if underlined and highlighted because it really does need to be exceptional.

The examples I give are domestic violence and conduct such as gambling that has reduced the assets that are available.

Note however that even with the latter a court may decide that their behaviour is attributable to, for example, a mental illness, and as such the person at fault is not fully culpable.

Even if behaviour is taken into account it is still only one factor and the judge would also have to consider the other factors including, for example, both parties’ needs.

Section 4.5 is designed to ensure that if there is any other information that you think could be relevant you include it, for example a disability, inheritance prospects, retirement approaching or a prenuptial agreement would all be included here, as would your own (or if you suspect the other party’s) intention to cohabit.

If, having completed this section, there is anything else that you think might be relevant to your or the other person’s future financial position then do speak to your solicitor about whether you should include it.

Section 4.6 details are required in respect of anyone you have married or formed a civil partnership with or intend to and details of anyone with whom you are living with in a relationship or intending to and you need to provide details of this person’s assets, income and liabilities.

This section can be contentious, particularly if your new partner does not wish to disclose his or her position and note that the details are only required so far as they are known to you at this stage.

The final section of the form requires you to set out the order that you are seeking, for example a sale or transfer of a property and whether or not you think the case is appropriate for a clean break (with a clean break neither spouse has an ongoing liability to pay maintenance to the other spouse although there may still be a liability to pay maintenance for children).

You also have to confirm whether you are seeking a pension sharing order and/or a variation of a pre or post nuptial settlement.

It is not unusual, if you do not yet know what the other person’s financial position is, to complete this section by stating that this will be confirmed following disclosure and again any queries with regard to this section should be referred to your solicitor.

Written by Kirstie Law Solicitor, Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator at Thomson Snell & Passmore. www.ts-p.co.uk

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