The form E is a legal document designed to give the court full details of your financial arrangements. If you apply to the court for a financial order, you and your spouse or legal partner must each complete a form E. Sometimes solicitors or mediators will encourage you both to complete this document and exchange them voluntarily early on in the process.
I should begin by saying that there are a set of notes on the government website, which are excellent and will help you to complete the form E, but we often receive questions on its completion, so we will cover those in this blog.
I am often asked why so many documents are required to be attached to the form E. It may help to think of these as evidence to back up what you have said in the form E. For example, if you say that your pension is valued at £100,000, then the valuation from the provider needs to show the same figure. Likewise, if you say your house is worth £400,000, then you require estate agent valuations as a minimum to say the same, or at least average to the same.
It may also assist to think of the information that you would want to see if your ex stated the value of an asset, liability, their income, etc. We expect the form to be completed truthfully and honestly. There is a warning on page 1 relating to the possibility of criminal proceedings being brought for being deliberately untruthful. However, this supporting evidence helps to confirm the position.
Section 1 – General Information
We rarely received questions on this section as it is relatively straightforward. The questions are about you and any children of the marriage. There is a health question in which only serious health conditions, mental or physical disabilities should be disclosed, rather than any minor ailments from which they may currently be suffering. There is also a question about schooling. If the children are at private school or it has always been the plan that they should be privately educated at some point, this should be included in section 1.12.
Section 2 – Financial Details
Part 1 Real Property (Land and Buildings) and Personal Assets
In this section, you are being asked for details of the assets in which you have a share and that you are aware of. You can only include information that you have and are aware of. You shouldn’t include details of assets held by your ex. You also shouldn’t worry if you don’t have access to all this information.
For the family home and other property in which you own all or a share, you should get valuations from at least two, preferably three, estate agents. The value used on the form would be an average of the valuations.
You will also need the mortgage details and a supporting mortgage statement. This can be requested from your mortgage provider but can take a couple of weeks to arrive. The mortgage statement will tell you whether there will be a penalty if you sold the property and repaid the mortgage at this time. They are known as redemption penalties.
For the costs of sale, the estate agents would normally provide theirs as part of the valuations. You can ask a conveyancing solicitor for an estimate of their costs.
In the bank account section, you should note whether they are single or joint account. Bank accounts should be included here even if they are in overdraft, rather than in the liabilities section. Cash ISAs should be included in this section. Statements for the last 12 months should be attached for EVERY account, not just your main account.
The remainder of this section is relatively straightforward but please do contact us if you have any queries.
Part 2 Capital Liabilities and Capital Gains Tax
In this section, you shouldn’t include anything that you have already disclosed elsewhere, i.e. mortgages and bank accounts in overdraft. However, you should disclose zero balance credit cards that are still active. You can support this information using statements and also a recent credit check from one of the credit agencies, such as Equifax or Experian.
There is also a section to disclose any capital gains tax that would be due if you dispose any of the assets in part 1. You should take advice on this if you think that there might be a liability, from a tax adviser. We can recommend someone suitable if you would like, please drop us an email.
Part 3 Capital: Business assets and directorships
You might think that this section should be easy to complete but we regularly come across clients who are shareholders in a business that their spouse set up and operates but they do not have any details relating to it, nor the values required to fully complete the form. I would recommend that if you do not have the information, that you state that on the form and the reasons why.
Part 4 Capital: Pensions
In this section, it would be very rare for one page to be sufficient, as you should complete a separate page for each pension that you have.
You are likely to need to do some preparation in order to be able to complete this section fully. You should provide your most recent statement for all pensions that you have. It would be advisable to contact each of these pension providers to request a CE (cash equivalent) value. You should let them know that it is for divorce. For final salary and career average schemes, this will be a number not available on the statement. For personal pensions, occupational defined contribution schemes, SIPPs, SSASs, workplace pensions, you should ask whether there are any guarantees. Some of this information is not required on the form E but is worth gathering at this stage in case an actuarial report is necessary.
Part 5 Capital: Other Assets
This section is relatively straightforward. If you have any assets not disclosed anywhere else on the form, you should include it here, whether in the UK or not.
Parts 6 to 10 Income
Whilst these parts should be easy to complete, it is important to note any reasons why your income may not be as much as or more than what it is normally or at least can be expected to be normally. For example, you have a temporary promotion covering maternity leave or have been on furlough.
Section 3 Financial Requirements
In this section, you need to think about the future, in terms of your needs and those of the children. You need to break them down into income and capital needs. I have often heard clients suggest that they should inflate their spending. I would disagree. You should be honest about your lifestyle costs, but also not miss anything out just because you don’t buy it every day. I would recommend thinking about things like house maintenance, Christmas and birthdays, replacing cars, etc. You should include holidays at the level you have been used to taking. However, it may be the case that belt tightening might be necessary.
Section 4 Other Information
You are given the opportunity in this section to set out the large changes to income and expenditure in the last 12 months and the same for the coming 12 months. You can also explain other aspects that you may wish the courts to be aware of.
We have run through the form in some detail to assist you in its completion. However, if you are still concerned about any aspect or have questions, we can help you to pull this information together as part of our work. Please arrange an initial chat using the link https://calendly.com/tamsin-caine/15min. If you would like longer to get your questions answered, please book a power hour using this link https://calendly.com/tamsin-caine/power-hour at a cost of £250, which will be deducted from your fixed fee if you go on to work with us to support you through your divorce.
Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.
You can contact Tamsin at email@example.com or arrange a free initial meeting using https://calendly.com/tamsin-caine/15min. She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK
Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner
Smart Divorce Ltd