Ministry of Justice financial settlement form error
It has been reported that an online financial statement (Form E) used in divorce proceedings and obtainable by divorcing couples from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) via their website has an error meaning that debts and liabilities were not deducted from total capital assets. This would give a false picture of the extent of the capital assets for division between the parties.
Reports suggest that this could have produced wrong settlements in a number of cases.
Barker Gotelee does not use this MOJ form.
The reports also query why solicitors, barristers and judges have not noticed the error before but the answer to this is quite simple. Solicitors, who prepare these financial statements, tend to use bespoke software packages meaning that generally they do not use MOJ forms. In any event solicitors, barristers and judges would not usually rely on the calculations in such forms but prepare their own spreadsheets. On this basis the chances of there being erroneous settlements is remote.
Nicola Furmston is a partner and head of the Family department at Barker Gotelee.