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Posted 18 December 2015
by Tracy Lambert

Form E error may have miscalculated divorce settlements

The Ministry of Justice are urgently examining a software error affecting the financial statement (Form E) used to disclose a spouse’s financial worth during court proceedings.

Thousands of separated couples who have settled their finances in the last 20 months or so may have to re-open negotiations because a fault has now been found in an online version of the form used to calculate assets. In the section which calculates the totals on behalf of the person filling in the form, the total liabilities were not being deducted and as a result not being reflected in the overall asset position and potentially inflating the extent of a husband or wife’s assets.

The MoJ was urgently investigating the extent of the error on its website which has in some cases inflated the extent of the assets owned by a husband or wife.

The software has been miscalculating assets since April 2014 but was only spotted in December 2015 by a family law specialist.

The online version of the form was downloaded around 20,000 times during the period it was producing inaccurate figures.

Judgments handed down by the Family Courts may have been done using incorrect information.

Identifying how many financial settlements may have been affected will not be a straightforward task.

Clients of Tozers LLP will be unaffected by this error as this version of the form is not used by Tozers’ Family Law specialists.

If you think your divorce and financial settlement may have been founded on incorrect information please contact our specialist divorce and family lawyers who will be able to advise you further. The MoJ has also provided an email address – formE@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk for anyone who believes they may have been affected to contact them.

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About the author

Tracy Lambert

Partner

Partner based in Exeter's family team