clean-break-divorce

Divorce does not just mark the end of an emotional and personal relationship. It also means splitting the marital finances in a fair and reasonable way. This means taking account of the changed circumstances and having regard to the needs and obligations of each party. The only way to reach a legally watertight agreement on finances is for each spouse to lay all of his or her assets on the table so that an accurate assessment of what is available van be made. Whether you reach a financial agreement by consent or a judge decides how to divide the assets, you will only obtain a final court order after full and frank financial disclosure. Failure to disclose assets may lead to a settlement being reopened at any time in the future.

What Do I Need To Disclose?

Form E is the document both parties must complete if the family court is in any way involved in the financial aspects of your divorce. Even if you hope to reach a settlement privately, Form E is a useful place to start. The type of information usually required includes:

  • Mortgage statements
  • 12 months of bank statements
  • Details of pensions
  • Life insurance policy details
  • Valuations of properties
  • Wage slips and evidence of all income sources
  • P60s
  • 2 or 3 years of accounts if self-employed

Some people treat Form E literally as a tick-box, form-filling exercise. They shouldn’t. It is crucial to put as much detail in your responses as possible. This is your opportunity to give as accurate a picture of your finances as possible. You should explain any peculiar transfers in or out of your bank accounts. If you work, indicate the level of your job security. Is there a possibility of redundancy for example?

Am I Legally Obliged To Provide The Financial Information?

This depends on the nature of your divorce. It is perfectly possible to agree a financial settlement on the basis of limited disclosure or no disclosure at all. But in the vast majority of cases this is inadvisable. Once the court approves your settlement (in a consent order) it can be more difficult to revisit the financial settlement. Also, if you proceed with limited disclosure it is impossible for your solicitor to advise you with any precision of your legal entitlement or obligation.

What Is The Process For Disclosure?

Private Agreement

If you are hoping to agree a financial settlement without applying to the court you can voluntarily disclose your financial information and negotiate an agreement with your spouse. It is advisable to speak to an experienced solicitor before reaching any agreement. If you do reach agreement you will still have to ask the court to issue a consent order. This gives the agreement – voluntarily reached – the force of law.

No Agreement

Many couples are unable to reach agreement. If this is the case one party will apply to the court for a financial order by completing ‘Form A’. There is then a well-defined process for dealing with the financial aspect of your divorce:

  • Each side completes Form E (see above)
  • Form E is exchanged well in advance of the first court hearing
  • Parties can raise questions informally about the nature of the information disclosed on Form E
  • At the first court hearing the court gives directions for further disclosure
  • Once this has taken place both parties attend a Financial Dispute Resolution appointment
  • If no agreement is reached an appointment is made for a final hearing when the court will make its decision

Within this process there are multiple opportunities for negotiation and finding agreement. The vast majority of financial cases settle ahead of the final hearing.

What Happens If One Party Hides Assets

As you can see there is an opportunity to question the extent of disclosure if you do not believe it has been comprehensive. And there is willingness on the part of some to understate assets during divorce. In fact, a recent YouGov survey revealed a third of us would hide assets if we could get away with it.

But failure to be full and frank in disclosing assets is risky – and could even be classified as fraud. If non-disclosure is discovered in the future there is nothing to prevent an ex-spouse asking the court t reopen the settlement. This could be many years after your divorce. This could lead to closer scrutiny by the court and significant penalties in the form of court costs and legal fees.

You can read more hear about how the court responds to non-disclosure of assets here.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

I had applied for a free consultation and I was contacted in a very short timeframe. Thank you so much for the insightful and thorough consultation, Kevin Danagher. You made me feel at ease and you provided clear expectations with the initial info I had provided... I have now a much better understanding on my query.

Feb 2024   Sonia Accardi

We had a very useful first consultation with Amber Matheson today. Amber took the time to understand our (somewhat complicated) set-up, and offered good, understandable advice on next steps. She followed up with a very thorough email clarifying what we had discussed. Highly recommended.

Feb 2024   Lucie

Lovely friendly experience. All questions were answered so that I understood completely.

Dec 2023   Ali Catlin

Very balanced, fair and pragmatic advice. Thoroughly recommend!!

Nov 2023   James Elliott

Henry graciously provided his time for a consultation. I found him to be highly knowledgeable, empathetic and he provided excellent advice which put my mind at ease. Would highly recommend Henry and his firm.

Oct 2023   Allan Ang

Henry Brookman went above and beyond during the free consultation, and even overran the allocated time. He provided invaluable professional advice in a courteous manner. I recommend his firm without reservation.

Sep 2023   Mario Ignatov

I only had my initial free review with Amelia yet I already feel much more strengthened in my legal and financial position. I am currently reflecting on the steps I want to take to negotiate my desired outcome of the financial settlement but, when I am ready to use the services of a lawyer, Amelia is definitely the top on my list.

Sep 2023   Nahid Toubia

I had a zoom consultation with Lauren Moir and she was incredible. Very patient, insightful and reassuring. She also advised me based on my previous conversations with another firm and also clarified various positions I am in. Highly recommend.

Aug 2023   Gary Hawes

I was very impressed with the friendly, helpful and professional service offered by Brookman Solicitors. The generous advice and knowledge offered during the initial free consultation has enabled us to have a much better understanding of our case and plan a way forward.

Jul 2023   Peter Jackson

I had a first consultation with Kevin, who very diligently and professionally provided an exhaustive overview of the divorce process and the best approach for my specific case.

Jul 2023   Giulia Matteo

Great service and excellent advice at the initial consultation. I would certainly recommend and use in the future.

Jul 2023   Tom James

Spoke to a kind solicitor this morning who took an hour of her time to talk me through some advice relating to a difficult separation.... She was clear and helpful with her advice, leaving me feeling much more confident with the process ahead of me.

Jun 2023   Luke Taylor

Mr Brookman provided very clear advice that left me with no doubt about the options and next steps. Getting specific advice with the requirements in the different jurisdictions was particularly useful so I won’t need to consult another lawyer outside of the UK

May 2023   Julian Anthony

From initial contact I found all staff extremely helpful and professional. My options were made clear, my query was dealt with in a sympathetic way. Would highly recommend Brookman Solicitors.

Mar 2023   seamus mcguinness

The initial consultation I have just completed with Henry Brookman was very informative; he was very open and honest about my situation, the legalities of the matter and the extent of how his firm could help.

Nov 2022   Kimberley Noakes

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470