The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has made some mistakes in calculating divorce settlements.
News that over 3,600 couples have been affected by a software error on the MoJ’s website hit the papers last week as the Justice Minister issued an apology.
Ten per cent of those who had completed ‘Form E’ using the MoJ website between April 2014 and December 2015 were affected, so we decided to give legal advice for couples with miscalculated divorce settlements.
How will you know if your financial settlement on divorce has been affected by the MoJ mistake?
1. Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) will send you a letter of apology.
2. Once you have received this, you then have the option of renegotiating your divorce settlement.
3. All open cases will be calculated correctly now the error has been recognised, so you only need to take action if your settlement has been finalised and made into a court order.
4. All you need to do is apply to court, free of any court fees, to set aside your financial order.
Those most likely to have a divorce settlement based on an incorrect set of figures are the people who chose to represent themselves in court. This is because, without an experienced divorce lawyer, they might not have noticed that there was a faulty formula present in the Form E document on the MoJ website. This formula failed to take away liabilities and debts from overall wealth and, as a result, overvalues individual’s wealth potentially making you worse off in your final settlement.
Form E is a very important document in dividing your financial assets upon divorce. For many, completing financial forms and sorting out your financial settlement can seem a daunting task. That is why we’ve listed all the different types of documents you will need to provide for financial disclosure here: What documents do I need to provide for financial disclosure?
We also explain everything you need to know about Form E in this blog: What is Form E?
Sarah Thompson is a family lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.
Slater and Gordon are experts on family law issues including divorce and financial settlements. If you need legal advice in relation your finances on divorce, call our UK contact centre on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online.