The financial disclosure process provides the other party with information regarding their financial circumstances and evidence to support them.
It is often facilitated by completing Form E (view a Form E here), the document the court will direct the parties to complete if an application is made for a judge to determine how their assets should be divided.
Although it derives from the court process, Form E is commonly used when the parties are trying to reach an agreement, whether directly with each other, through mediation or solicitors.
Divorce financial disclosure Form E may include information on the following, together with supporting documentation:
Once Form E has been completed (with all relevant supporting documents attached), it is exchanged (preferably simultaneously) with the other party.
Each party then has an opportunity to consider the details provided and, should they wish, ask for further evidence or clarification.
The intention is to ensure that
(a) the parties believe they have all the information they need to understand the other’s financial circumstances and
(b) there are no hidden assets or otherwise suspicious transactions.
For more information, read the dos and don’ts of how to complete a Form E here. If you feel comfortable sourcing and filling out forms yourself, consult with local divorce solicitors for help.
There are other elements of financial disclosure that are worth considering.
If both parties are satisfied with the information, they can negotiate a fair and reasonable divorce settlement. If or when an agreement is reached, this should be formalised into a document known as a consent order, which is then sent to the court. Consult with your respective family law solicitors to arrange this.
The court will review the agreement and, providing it is considered reasonable and fair, will formally approve the order.
Once a consent order is approved, it offers the parties security and certainty in how the assets will be divided and that their agreement is enforceable.
Without financial disclosure, you cannot be sure of your ex-partner’s/spouse’s assets. This is crucial because the law in this area is discretionary, so that different financial circumstances lead to differing financial outcomes.
If you do not know the correct financial circumstances, you cannot be sure that the agreement you have reached is fair.
Full and frank disclosure enables both parties’ divorce solicitors to have a clear picture of the financial assets in a marriage, assess the circumstances, and then advise as to the correct way a court is likely to approach a division of assets.
While there are several methods of avoiding financial disclosure, people rarely ‘get away’ with doing so. Your partner’s solicitor, and the court/appointed ADR third party, are more than familiar with the typical ways of avoiding financial disclosure.
If you would like further advice, please contact our Client Care Team here to speak to one of our specialist divorce lawyers.
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