Divorce - Disclosing your Assets for the Best Settlement

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If you are in the process of divorce or separation at some point you will be asked to disclose your financial assets. This is crucial for a fair settlement and your lawyer will use this to advise you to make informed decisions about any settlement.

Both parties in a divorce are obliged to provide full and accurate disclosure of their situation to each other, their lawyers, and the court, which will be necessary throughout the process of the divorce until the financial order is made.

The Form E

The usual method of disclosure of your assets will be by completing a Form E, which sets out all the assets, plus supporting documents such as bank statements, mortgage and loan documents, tax liabilities, credit card statements, income information, and any other relevant financial documents. Your lawyer will help you to fill in the Form E and will collate all the relevant information. Once completed, your Form E will be exchanged by your solicitor with your partner’s solicitor. Once your family lawyer has received your partner’s Form E they will go through it with you and consider whether it is necessary to respond with a questionnaire to request further disclosure of additional documents or missing information. Upon receipt of this, if there are still discrepancies, we can consider raising further questions and preparing a schedule of deficiencies.

In some cases, it may be necessary to appoint an accountant to review personal and business finances to investigate if there are any hidden assets or financial discrepancies.

Future Assets and Inheritances

Both parties have a duty to provide full and frank disclosure of their assets and those which they may be likely to have in the near future. However, any potential inheritance is not likely to be a disclosable asset as future inheritances cannot be guaranteed as an asset that will be available to the beneficiary in the future.

What if my former partner attempts to hide their assets?

Both parties have a duty to provide full disclosure and sign a statement that they have done so on their Form E. This should be taken seriously as there could be consequences for non-disclosure. If your lawyer becomes aware that your partner has failed to disclose the full position, they may be required to pay the cost of any additional enquiries necessary because of the failure to disclose assets. If it is proved that your partner has not provided full and frank disclosure, this will impact their credibility in court.

If there is a failure to disclose something then it could mean that the financial order is cancelled or set aside and the matter will be re-heard and a new order will be made, which will not favour the person who has hidden their assets. In extreme cases, the person who has hidden their assets may be held in contempt of court. However, thankfully this is a rare circumstance.

Our team of family lawyers will help you with all aspects of divorce and separation including sorting out the financial matters in a fair way for both parties. Please contact us on 01492 874774 (Llandudno) or 596596 (Conwy) for further information.