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22 September 2012

Form E: the documents needed to accompany it

Mahie Abey, Family Lawyer
Once you have agreed with your ex-partner that disclosure should take place by way of Form E, and now you understand the need to make your Form E as good as possible (see my post Form E: an introduction) the next step is to gather the documents that are needed to accompany Form E. 

These documents are needed to support the figures and values you list in the form.

I would strongly recommend you collect these documents before you start filling in Form E itself, as having this information at your fingertips will make completing the form much easier.

Form E is divided into sections and most sections require documents to be attached to corroborate what you have said. The documents required are as follows:

1. For each property you own or have an interest in

a.   Property valuations, less than 6 months old

Get at least one, but preferably 3, market appraisals from estate agents of any properties that you own.

The reason for getting a selection of values is that with them it is much more likely that you and your ex-partner will be able to agree a value of that property.

b.   The most recent mortgage statement (if relevant)

Each year and more often twice yearly you will be sent a statement by your mortgage company setting out what is still due on your mortgage.

You can sometimes access these on line.

If you have lost or cannot locate the document ask your mortgage company to send you  another copy.

2. For each bank or building society account in your own name or joint names

Your last 12 months bank statements

This is for all accounts, including those that are held jointly with another person, may be overdrawn, have no balance or have not been used for some time.

Online statements are fine.

When you have the statements I recommend annotating each specific payment in or out over £500 with an explanation of the payment, if the entry is not clear from the statement.

3. Stocks, shares, ISAs and similar investments

The latest statement or dividend counterfoil

If you don’t have them ask your bank, IFA or the institution the investment is held with for copies.

4. Endowment policies

Surrender values

Telephone the provider (insurance company) and ask for the surrender value (this is what you would get if you cashed in the policy now).

Note that the surrender value is not the same as the maturity value.

(Normal life policies do not have a value - it is only endowment policies which do.)

5. Businesses

a.      The last 2 years business accounts

If you do not have access to these immediately, get these from your accountant.

If you do not have accounts because you do not prepare them then your tax return will be fine.

If you are in the process of preparing the accounts for the year that has just ended stress to your accountant the need to do this quickly.

If you have draft accounts then these can be disclosed with the warning that they might change once they are finalised.

b.     Any document on the basis of which the value of a business is estimated

I think you should always try to obtain a letter/document from your accountant with their value of your business, including an explanation as to how they have reached their conclusion.

A properly considered letter from your accountant can often lead to valuations being accepted, as opposed to expensive valuation exercises being embarked upon.

6. Pensions

The Cash Equivalent value of your pension scheme (for an Additional State Pension a valuation of rights)

Private pensions

You really must get in touch with your pension provider ASAP as getting this information can take up to 3 months.

I suggest you get this valuation by completing and sending off a Form P for each private pension you have – download one here.

You only need to complete the first page of the form (see below) and then sign it. The pension company will do the rest and then send the form back to you.

1.      Enter the name of the pension company

2.      Enter the address of the pension company (you’ll find this on your annual statement)

3.      Enter the pension scheme number or reference number (if in doubt, give both)

4.      Enter your name and full address

5.       Enter your address again (even though you have already given it at box 4. above!)

If your pension is in the Pension Protection Fund you’ll need to send off Form PPF instead – download it here, and fill it in just as Form P above:

Then send it to the Pension Protection Fund:

Attn: Compensation Team
The Pension Protection Fund
Knollys House
17 Addiscombe Road
Surrey CR0 6SR

Download this template letter and send it off with the completed Form P (or Form PPF if appropriate).

Additional State Pension
If you have an Additional State Pension the valuation you will need for this (called a ‘valuation of rights’ not a CE value) can be obtained by completing Form BR20, which you can download here or at www.directgov.uk by searching under 'Claim forms' and then looking at the divorce section.

7. Employed income

Your last 3 pay slips, your last P60 and P11D

Payslips are self-explanatory.

Your P60 you will get in around May each year - it contains a summary of what you earned in the last year.

Your P11D is a statement of any benefits in kind you obtained from your employer.

8. Self-employed income

a.      Your last tax assessment (or return) or a letter from your accountant saying what you received from the business

Even though you are asked to provide this only for the last financial year, I would recommend doing so for the year before that as well. This is likely to reduce arguments and therefore time taken and costs spent.

b.     Management accounts if you have them

Many businesses have quarterly management accounts. You will know if you produce them.

I know that the above is a daunting list. I do recommend you get on with obtaining these documents as quickly as you can, as it will not go away!

Apart from getting the CE valuation of your pension (which will take longer) you should be able to get hold of all this information in 2 to 4 weeks, even if you are not a great average record keeper.

Once that 2 to 4 weeks has elapsed make a start on your Form E even if you have not got all the information you need. You can always provide the documentation later on.

My next post will talk you through how to start filling in Form E itself. (If you use Intelligent Divorce, you can avoid filling in Form E entirely, as we have our own voluntary disclosure system!)