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Top Tips for Preparing Your Financial Disclosure

on Tuesday, 18 January 2022.

When separating, it is important to ensure that you have a good grasp of each other's financial positions before entering into any financial negotiations. Exchanging financial information is technically known as 'financial disclosure'.

The term 'financial disclosure' can feel very formal, however it is incredibly important. In some cases, one individual may be fully aware of all of the matrimonial assets, including any assets that are in their spouse's sole name. However, this is not always the case. Whilst one spouse may be aware that a financial asset may exist, they may have no idea of its particular value. Pensions are a good example of this.

What Is Financial Disclosure?

Financial disclosure is the process whereby both parties will provide information, including valuations, of all the assets they hold, either individually or jointly. This will include any assets that have been acquired before the marriage. This provides transparency and allows the parties to have properly informed discussions. If solicitors are instructed they will expect you to complete a Form E.

What Is a Form E?

A Form E is a formal legal document. It sets out clearly all of the assets. This includes bank accounts, properties, shares, pensions and high value belongings eg pictures, cars etc. The Form E can be up to several hundred pages long once all the documentary evidence is attached. This can be very daunting for an individual who is already having to contend with the emotional distress that a relationship breakdown can cause.

Our Top Tips

Financial disclosure does not have to be a stressful exercise. We hope that these top tips may help ease the pressure.

  • Don't panic - Often the mere sight of a Form E can cause individuals to feel incredibly daunted. The process need not be protracted. Just take a deep breath and set some uninterrupted time aside to read through exactly what you need to do. Your solicitor will be able to guide you and answer any questions you may have.
  • Use your Form E - The form sets out exactly what is required. Print a couple of copies and make one copy your draft 'to do' list. You can make note of the supporting documents that you have requested and update the information once you have what you need. Once you have all the information, you can use another copy as your final version to send to your solicitor.
  • Start early - A lot of the information required will need to be requested from third parties eg pension valuations. It can take weeks to receive this information, so it is important that you give yourself plenty of time.
  • Get organised - A lot of information will need to be exchanged, so it important that it is presented in an orderly manner. For hardcopy documents, we recommend using a lever arch file with separate numbered dividers for each document. Helpfully, the Form E provides reference numbers which should help with arranging the documents. Any electronic documents should be named so that they are clearly identifiable. It is also important to ensure that documents are in date order and complete.
  • Ask for help - Do not feel like you need to do this alone. Perhaps a trusted friend or family member may be able to help you collate the information. You may also wish to ask your solicitor to help, however this will add to your legal costs.
  • Be thorough - There have been instances where individuals have mistakenly not included assets in their Form E. Whilst this may be a genuine mistake, there can be implications. Ensure that you go through all your records and investigate matters fully.

How Can We Help?

As experienced family lawyers, we spend a lot of time advising clients on financial disclosure and supporting them through their relationship breakdown. We are well equipped to advise you on how to address financial disclosure and provide advice on how marital assets may then be distributed.

For specialist legal advice on dealing with your finances post separation, please contact our New Enquiries team on 020 7405 1234, or complete the form below.

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