Divorced couples should look back at their Form E (and the Form E of their
former spouse), and manually calculate atparagraph 2.20 the total value of the
capital assets (i.e. add totals A to G and then subtract D).
This error of the MoJ’s software is very basic but potentially catastrophic. In particular, it could seriously affect those people with large liabilities, including credit
card debts, bank loans and tax liabilities, as the miscalculation would produce
a wrong and misleading picture of their wealth.
The figures in Forms E are relied on to calculate a husband and wife’s assets before a fair settlement can be decided/achieved, and division of assets based on incorrect capital values of one or both parties could produce a very unfair settlement.
Those people affected by these mistakes may have to re-open their financial
settlements in order to rectify these errors, which may be extremely costly and
is particularly unfortunate given that a final Financial Order is supposed to
provide parties with certainty and finality.
It is worth noting, however, that the majority of Family lawyers (including this firm)
use a software package called Quantum and not the faulty system in question, so their clients will be unaffected.
Thousands of couples who have settled their divorces in the last 20 months may have to re-open negotiations because a critical fault has been found in software used to calculate financial terms. The Ministry of Justice was urgently investigating the extent of the errors of “Form E” on its website, which have the potential to inflate the financial worth of a wife or husband. It has published an email address – formE@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk – asking anyone who believes they have been affected to contact the department.