Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Family Lore Clinic: Do we need to fill in a Form E for a consent order?
A very large number of questions asked by readers relate to consent orders (by which I mean orders setting out agreed financial/property settlements on divorce/dissolution of civil partnership). I'm not entirely sure why this is, but it does appear that many consent orders are obtained by people who are unrepresented - and obviously there are likely to be more after legal aid for financial remedies is abolished in April.
I suppose the number of unrepresented people seeking consent orders is not entirely bad news - at least it suggests that a lot of people are able to reach agreement on financial/property settlements without a lawyer. However I would still recommend that at least some basic advice is sought to ensure that the settlement is fair and reasonable, before applying for the consent order.
Which brings me on to my next point (I will answer the question in a moment!): If you are in need of advice regarding the obtaining or implementation of a consent order, then it is perfectly possible to obtain advice just in relation to that, without going to the expense of instructing a solicitor to deal with everything. Sometimes a little advice can save a lot in the long run!
OK, now to answer the question: do you need to fill in a Form E when applying for a consent order? No, normally you don't. A Form E (see here) is a detailed statement of each party's means, and is required if there is a contested application to the court for a financial remedy. Such detail is not normally required by the court on an application for a consent order. Instead, a less detailed Statement of information form is required, as I explained in this post. As I also mentioned in that post, the court may require more information than is contained in the statement, and it is possible that this could extend to the filing of Form Es, although this would be highly unusual.
(As always, if you require more details or specific advice, you should consult a specialist family lawyer.)