What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce – part 2

Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce

In last week’s blog What happens after financial disclosure in divorce – part 1 I looked at what you should do when you receive your ex’s From E. This week’s blog is all about the Court timetable. I’ll explain it as clearly as possible but if you’re at all unsure what to do, please make sure you get advice from an expert family lawyer.

And if you’re involved in a voluntary process such as:

please see my blog How to Avoid Court – Family Mediation, Collaborative Law and Arbitration. 

The Court timetable

Not less than 14 days before the First Appointment you must file with the Court and serve on each other:

  • concise statement of the issues
  • chronology
  • questionnaire setting out any further information and documents requested
  • notice stating whether you will be in a position at the First Appointment to proceed to a FDR appointment

What Court documents look like

The heading is vital:

  • Top right hand corner: “In the Family Court at [name of your Court]”
  • Against the right hand margin” “No of matter [look at the last document you received from the Court]”
  • “Between” followed by “[name] Applicant”
  • “And” followed by “[name] Respondent”
  • Centred heading, “Concise Statement of Issues”, “Chronology” etc

Concise statement of issues

Putting this document together is a two step process:

  1. Identify what the issues are
  2. Concisely state them in a document

What are the issues

Anything that’s not yet agreed between you:

  • value of property and/or the future ownership of the family home or any other property
  • extent of savings and investments and/or the distribution of pensions or assets
  • level of income and/or maintenance
  • responsibility for debts

These are of course examples of issues. Every case is different.

How to set out your issues

Order your issues under headings, for example “Property”, and try to follow the sequence of the Form E when setting out your issues:

  • property
  • savings, investments
  • debts
  • businesses
  • pensions
  • income
  • income needs
  • capital needs

How much detail

The minimum. Simply state the issue; eg the value of the family home is not agreed or the Respondent has failed to disclose their income. Think of a Concise Statement of Issues as a heads-up to your ex and to the Court.

Chronology

What’s happened in date order. It’s usually going to go something like this:

[date] Civil partner’s/wife’s/husband’s date of birth

[date] Civil partner’s/wife’s/husband’s date of birth

[date] Marriage/civil partnership

[date] birth of [child name]

[date] separation

[date] divorce petition

[date] First Appointment

Questionnaire

Last week I said it was vital to go through your ex’s Form E carefully and note anything unexpected, incomplete or missing. List these items in your Questionnaire by reference to the paragraph numbers on the Form E. For example your ex has:

2.2 missed off the villa in Monaco you’re pretty sure they own jointly with their new partner

2.11 not attached copies of business accounts for the last two financial years

3.1.1 stated they need £300 a month to maintain their swimming pool. What swimming pool?

Notice stating whether you will be in a position at the First Appointment to proceed on that occasion to a FDR appointment

Once you understand what this Notice is getting at, it’s really easy to answer. But first you need to know what’s likely to happen at the First Appointment, and what a FDR appointment is all about. I’ll cover these in next week’s blog.

What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce – Part 2

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce – part 2. In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family lawyers. We offer Pay as you go costs. We offer Collaborative law solutions tailored to your family’s needs.

The topics covered in this blog post What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce – Part 2 are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.

image for What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce – Part 2 Cat by Kat Goretti on Wikimedia

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What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce

What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce

It’s easy to lose sight of what happens after financial disclosure in divorce. This is because getting your Form E together can be more than a bit complicated and longwinded.

Stuck on your Form E

If you’re stuck, please see my recent blogs: How to Fill in a Form E Financial Statement on Divorce – Part 1 which tells you what documents you need, and How to Fill in a Form E Financial Statement on Divorce – Part 2 which helps you answer some of the trickier questions. Still puzzled? Get in touch with an expert family lawyer.

But when it’s finished, what happens next? It depends whether you’re disclosing your finances voluntarily or as part of the Court timetable.

What is voluntary disclosure

Voluntary disclosure happens in:

What are these voluntary processes all about? See my blog How to Avoid Court – Family Mediation, Collaborative Law and Mediation

Exchange of Forms E

Whether it’s voluntary, or as part of the Court timetable, Forms E are exchanged simultaneously. This means your ex doesn’t get yours first and tailor theirs accordingly.

The first thing you need to do when you receive your ex’s Form E is to check it carefully. Does it contain any surprises? What’s this, a spare yacht moored in Capri which they’re happy to let you have? And all that money you thought they were spending in the bookies they were saving up for the children? Mm, we can all dream …

Check whether there’s anything they’ve left out – their business bank account, their shares, their pension. And have they included all the documents required by Form E?

Questions, questions …

If something doesn’t make sense – where did they get the money to pay for yet another yacht – any chance they’re earning a lot more than they’re letting on? And where are the statements backing up their bank accounts? This is your opportunity to raise questions. If it’s a voluntary process, this can be by letter. If you’re involved in Court proceedings, you need to keep to the Court timetable.

The Court timetable

The Court issued the timetable when proceedings started. You now have a date for the first hearing which is called, perhaps a little predictably, the “First Appointment”. You’ve already complied with item 1 of the timetable – well done!

  1. Not less than 35 days before the first appointment you must simultaneously exchange your Forms E. Don’t forget to file your Form E in the Court, too
  2. Not less than 14 days before the first appointment, you must file with the Court and serve on each other:
    • a concise statement of the issues
    • a chronology
    • a questionnaire setting out any further information and documents requested
    • a notice stating whether you will be in a position at the first appointment to proceed on that occasion to a FDR appointment

Concise statement of issues? Chronology? Questionnaire? Notice?

This is all a lot simpler than it sounds but it does take some care, so please read my next blog which will guide you through in easy steps, What happens after financial disclosure on divorce – part 2.

What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce. In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family lawyers. We offer Pay as you go costs. We offer Collaborative law solutions tailored to your family’s needs.

The topics covered in this blog post What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.

image for What Happens after Financial Disclosure in Divorce Yacht Charter by YachtChart on Wikimedia

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Can I Refuse Financial Disclosure

Can I Refuse Financial DisclosureI understand why sometimes clients ask, “Can I refuse financial disclosure.” Your relationship has broken down and now your ex, or your ex’s solicitors, are asking intrusive questions. You object because:

  • you’ve already reached a perfectly sensible agreement between you, or
  • you want your business, inheritance or pension left out of the settlement.

There’s a lot at stake so make sure you get expert legal advice

Why is financial disclosure requested

You’ll only know you’re getting a fair share of the matrimonial income and assets if you understand their extent. Your ex’s solicitor will be advising your ex the same. However this doesn’t mean your ex automatically gets a share of everything. When you disclose you can argue an asset is non matrimonial, for example:

  • an inheritance postdating the relationship breakdown, or
  • a pension you built up before the marriage.

See my blog Ring fence and protect assets on divorce

Further, if your business is small and represents your income, it’s unlikely it’ll be thrown into the mix. See my blog How to protect business on divorce.

What if you’ve already agreed a financial settlement

Did you know that the Court won’t make an order without seeing a Statement of Information for Consent Order. This is a Court form containing basic financial information about both of you.

What is a “Statement of Information for Consent Order” and why is it necessary

This document contains the following information from both of you:

  • details of marriage/civil partnership
  • dates of birth
  • financial agreement
  • summary of means
  • capital
  • income

The Court checks this document to make sure your financial agreement is fair and reasonable.

What if you provide inaccurate disclosure or hide assets?

See my blog Financial Disclosure on Divorce – 10 Things You Need to Know. This tells you about:

  • costs consequences, and
  • adverse inferences, and
  • the worst case scenario, being found to be “in contempt of Court”, and
  • the ultimate sanction, imprisonment.

Why do you need a consent order?

For more about consent orders and how to get one see my blog How do I get a consent order

Can I refuse financial disclosure

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on Can I Refuse Financial Disclosure. In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family lawyers. We offer Pay as you go costs. We offer Collaborative law solutions tailored to your family’s needs.

The topics covered in this blog post Can I Refuse Financial Disclosure are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.

image for Can I Refuse Financial Disclosure Runner in Chicago by Kyle Cassidy on WikimediaThis image has been changed.

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How to Fill in a Form E Financial Statement on Divorce – pt 2

How to Fill in a Form E Financial Statement on DivorceLast week’s blog Form E Financial Statement on Divorce – pt 1 set out the documents you need to gather together. This week I’m guiding you through the Form E Financial Statement, explaining the tricky bits and pitfalls. However there’s no substitute for taking advice from a family law expert.

You need to answer the questions thoroughly and honestly. Why? See my blog  Financial disclosure on divorce, 10 things you need to know.

1.13 Child support

If you’re not sure about your position see my blog What are your child maintenance options? Here’s a link to the online child maintenance calculator

2.10 Capital Gains Tax

Here’s a link to an overview of Capital Gains Tax. If you have any doubts about your tax liability you should consult your accountant. Also please see our blog Does Splitting up Affect Tax in the UK.

2.11 Details of all your business interests

Providing information about your business doesn’t mean it’s automatically up for grabs in the divorce. See my blog How to Protect Business on Divorce

2.14 Other assets

“You are reminded of your obligation to disclose all your financial assets and interest of ANY nature.” If you wonder why this warning is necessary take a look at my blog Financial Disclosure on Divorce – 10 Things You Need to Know

3. Financial Requirements Part 1 Income needs

Print off the checklist from the Advice Now website, fill it in and attach it to the form.

3. Financial Requirements Part 2 Capital needs

Often for accommodation. Consider your reasonable housing needs and do some market research. Also note your potential mortgage capacity and show your net capital requirement.

4.2 Brief details of the standard of living enjoyed by you and your spouse/civil partner during the marriage/civil partnership

This is only likely to have consequences in very high value divorces where there’s a significant excess of resources. See my blog A Guide to “Needs” on Divorce – Christina Estrada’s Extraordinary Essentials. In this case the Judge described the couple’s standard of living as “stratospheric”. The starting point for the division of capital is equal shares. But division can be unequal:

  • where needs cannot be met, or
  • in high value divorces where there’s been a “stellar” contribution by one party.

Stellar contribution, otherwise known as special contribution, is considered in my blog Special Contribution on Divorce: How to Get a Bigger Share of the Assets.

If you married an established millionaire there’s a chance you won’t get an equal share of their fortune on divorce. However if you give full details of your lavish lifestyle this might justify a share not simply based on your needs.

4.4 Bad behaviour or conduct

This goes way beyond unreasonable behaviour and adultery.  An argument for a bigger share on this basis is unlikely to succeed unless for example it’s a question of:

  • “wanton” or “reckless” expenditure, or
  • your ex destroying your ability to earn an income by injuring you or burning down your business.

4.5 Other circumstances

It’s important to give careful thought to answering this question. It could justify a greater share of the capital or a maintenance order.

5. Order sought

Take advice from a family law expert to find out what you can hope to achieve in a financial settlement.

Statement of Truth

Wondering why the contempt of court warning is necessary? Take a look at my blog Financial Disclosure on Divorce – 10 Things You Need to Know

How to Fill in a Form E Financial Statement on Divorce – pt 2

Contact Family Lawyer Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for an initial consultation on How to Fill in a Form E Financial Statement on Divorce. In this 20 minute session she will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family lawyers. We offer Pay as you go costs. We offer Collaborative law solutions tailored to your family’s needs.

The topics covered in this blog post How to Fill in a Form E Financial Statement on Divorce are complex. They are provided for general guidance only. If any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog apply to you, seek expert legal advice.

image for How to Fill in a Form E Financial Statement on Divorce, Vic, Iceland, by Unsplash on Wikimedia

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