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The Money and Divorce blog is brought to you by Intelligent Divorce, the new way to get fixed-fee specialist legal advice on splitting your money when you divorce.

Our blog provides illustrated practical guides for those going through the divorce process, plus news on divorce, money and family breakdown.

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28 July 2011

The difficulties of Form E: what I tell my clients

by Mahie Abey
Form E is a difficult, intimidating form to complete as it is almost 30 pages long. I tell my clients not to worry about adding anything up as most solicitors use software to do that. Instead they should concentrate on making sure they provide accurate information on all their assets and income. I try to make the process as easy as possible, guiding my client through what information and documents are required. Yet, however financially sophisticated and literate my clients are, the form is invariably completed sketchily and the bundle of documents is incomplete or, even worse, jumbled up.

All of which means I will need to re-write and check the form, and check the documents provided. Of course, this work will cost my client but without a properly completed Form E and an easily understandable schedule of documents no progress can be made with the other party.

That is because it is very important that your Form E can be followed easily by anyone acting for the other party and by your ex-partner. If not then further costs will be incurred as questions flow back and forth from one solicitor to the other. This will also delay the process. For the same reason, it is important that all the documents are clearly indexed and in the right order.

Completing Form E is not just an exercise in disclosure, it is also an opportunity to spin a case in a particular way. That does not mean a solicitor will seek to mislead, merely that they will try to put the best possible gloss on their client's position. Making sure that the Form E is presented in a way that strengthens my client's position can often lead to significant questions being asked by the other party,which can add to the costs.

Once both sides have completed their Form E, they are sent to the other party – “exchanged”.

You can read more about the whole process in the Intelligent Guide to the Divorce Process