With being out all day in Wetherby yesterday today is the busiest I have been since starting as a Trainee some two weeks ago at Stowe Family Law LLP. The office is buzzing as everyone tries to get the weeks work done in time for the weekend.
Due to the amount of tasks I have done today it would take a blog post or five to fill you in on all of them, so I have decided to focus my time on two very important steps in any divorce case that involves the division of financial assets: 1. the exchange of Form E’s and 2. the process that follows: the questioning of the both parties Form E’s by the other side. This process is not as simple as submitting your questionnaire and getting a reply, it can involve submitting and re-submitting questions until you get a satisfactory answer.
But before I move on to the questionnaire it may be an idea to explain exactly what a Form E is. Exchange of Form E’s is an important step that allows each party to fulfil their duty of full and frank financial disclosure. The form is a 27 page document which asks you to provide all your financial information, from your matrimonial home and all other property to your income, dividends, shares and interests in businesses. Clients cannot properly resolve their financial issues without a full picture of each other’s finances. The Form E is used both within and outside the court process. Within the court process, after issuing your Form A’s (a subject for another blog post), the court will set a timetable, the first step is the exchange of the Form E’s. Outside the court process the voluntary exchange of Form E’s allows both parties to come to an agreement on the sharing of their finances. For a full picture of what is included in a Form E please visit http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/family/formspage and scroll down to Form E, where you can view a copy of the form itself.
Following on from exchange each side will submit a questionnaire which questions the information provided in the Form E by the other side. These questions seek to clarify anything that has not been fully explained or proven in the Form E or anything which is believed to be incorrect. This process often takes more than one set of replies to the questionnaires but hopefully will result in a full and frank financial picture for each side to work from.
Today I had the opportunity to fill in my first Form E outside of the LPC and I don’t imagine it will be my last either, before long I envisage it will become almost second nature. But for now I am closing down for the evening and looking forward to a couple of days off before getting stuck in on Monday.