Financial disclosure and divorce
We often get asked by our customers, whether or not you need to disclose your finances to your spouse if you’re divorcing. This will depend on your individual situation and the nature of your divorce.
We have outlined below when financial disclosure might be required, as well as the types of financial disclosure and where this sits within the divorce process.
What is financial disclosure?
As the term suggests, financial disclosure is when you provide a snapshot of your financial situation to the court so that a Judge can decide whether the financial settlement is fair following divorce. If you are required to complete financial disclosure as part of your financial settlement, the court will need to know all of your individual and collective assets, debts, pensions and income and this includes cryptocurrency. Financial disclosure is also useful in terms of showing the court that when you reached the agreements for your financial arrangements, you have done so with a full set of information.
When do you need to disclose your finances in divorce?
There are various situations where you might be required to disclose your finances during a divorce.
If you both agree and…
1. You have financial arrangements to make:
If you both agree on your financial arrangements, you can outline these to the court in a draft consent order, which a Judge will then review, and if satisfied, approve. If you plan on submitting a draft consent order to court, you will both need to complete financial disclosure. You can read more about consent orders in our guide, or you can book a free 15-minute consultation with an amicable expert to find out more. We also have various consent order services depending on how much help you need.
2. You don’t have financial arrangements to make but want a ‘clean break’:
You may have heard about ‘ clean break consent orders ’, the term is strictly speaking a myth, however, you can have a consent order which just contains a clean break clause, as you do not have any other financial arrangements to make. A ‘no-asset clean break consent order’ will enable you both to protect yourselves from future claims, for example, if you inherit, win the lottery or build up a pension post-divorce. Without a clean-break clause ending future claims, you run the risk of your ex-spouse claiming from you in the future and this can happen at any point. There was a well-publicised case where the wife made a financial claim 20 years after the divorce. However, if one or both of you re-marry, you are limited to only making a pension claim in the future.
If you don’t agree:
If you submit a Form A to the court, you will both be required to complete financial disclosure. This process can be very expensive (as it may involve spiralling legal costs) and acrimonious, so should be avoided where possible. We have a blog with our tips on how to agree on your financial arrangements and we offer coaching negotiation sessions to help with this.
When don’t you need to disclose your finances:
- If you are both agreed that you don’t want to make any legally binding financial arrangements, then you don’t need to disclose your finances.
Note: Your ex can submit a Form A at any point in the future if they wish to make a claim against you. At this point, you will both be required by the court to complete a financial disclosure.
Why do you need it?
In order for a Judge to decide whether your agreement is fair, they need to know what you both have, including all your assets, debt, and future earning projections.
Accepted ways of disclosing your finances:
- Form E
- Mediation disclosure forms
- amicable dashboard
Form E is the traditional way of completing financial disclosure for a divorce financial settlement and is the most common route used by solicitors and litigants in person (If you aren't being represented). It is a very long form, however, most solicitors use an electronic version. You also need to include evidence such as bank and mortgage statements, payslips, insurance policies, investments, etc. If you are using the court route, this is the form you will be ordered to complete and exchange with your ex before you have a hearing to discuss your financial settlement.
Mediation disclosure forms
Mediators have a special form that is accepted by the courts, however you can still opt to disclose your finances using Form E. If one of you would prefer this route, then you both must complete a Form E.
If you are using amicable to draft your consent order, we’ve made this process as simple as possible through our user-friendly amicable dashboard which enables you to input your financial information securely, and you can share your financial disclosure with one another. It's super easy and only the relevant questions are presented so there’s no need to wade through endless forms.
Form D81 (Statement of Information form) which is attached to all applications to the court, states that you have disclosed your assets fully and frankly to your spouse. When you sign this form, you are confirming that you have done this. You do not need to attach any evidence of your financial information to this form, unlike with Form E.
Book a free 15-minute call with an amicable expert. Understand the process, how long it may take, how much it can cost and what your options are.
You can join the call alone or together.
What happens after financial disclosure in divorce?
- Again, this will depend on the route you are taking. If you submit a Form A to the court, they will then set a timetable for the first court hearing and, you will need to follow the court protocol, so it’s wise to speak with a divorce lawyer.
- If you both agree and plan on submitting a consent order, then you can use a service such as amicable, to draft all of the relevant documents for you. Uniquely, amicable is able to work with you both collaboratively, unlike lawyers. This means you don’t need to pay two sets of legal fees.
Why you should consider a consent order:
If you both agree and you have financial arrangements to make, or if you don’t have financial arrangements to make but would like a ‘clean break’, then you will need to submit a consent order.
Without a financial order in place, you both run the risk of future claims, which can happen several years later. You can agree your finances after you are divorced but it’s important to note that if you choose to apply for a consent order or submit a Form A, you will need to disclose your finances as they are at that point in time and the court will consider whether your agreement is fair at the time you apply - so if your finances change post-divorce, say you have a better-paid job, inherit money or win the lottery, the court will look at whether your money/assets need to be shared with your ex-spouse.
What happens if you are not truthful on your financial disclosure?
You are legally obligated to be truthful in your financial disclosure, and if you are found to have lied to the court, then you run the risk of punitive action being taken against you.
My spouse is hiding assets?
You should seek help from a divorce lawyer if you believe that your ex is hiding, or trying to hide assets.
Why is the financial disclosure based on our finances now rather than when we separated?
This is because you are financially tied together, even after your divorce, unless you have an order in place. The Judge will need to make the order based on both your financial situations and your collective assets/debts, now, not when you first separated or divorced.
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