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Form E: to disclose or not to disclose…


Is your ex holding everything up by refusing to disclose their financial details? Have they failed – yet again – to complete the Form E (statement of means)? You’re frustrated and angry that they seem to be getting away with stopping you from reaching a settlement, while you struggle to pay your bills and provide for your family. Is there anything you can do about it?

Yes! In the case of Ball v Shepstone [2013] EWCC 7 (Fam), Ms. Ball had applied for support for their two children. Mr. Shepstone did not file his statement. The court could not proceed with the application as they had no information about Mr. Shepstone’s financial circumstances. A court order was issued requiring him to return the completed Form E within a month. He still didn’t comply.

Does this sound familiar? Perhaps your ex doesn’t realize how serious the consequences might be: by refusing to comply with the order, Mr. Shepstone was in contempt of court. That can carry a prison sentence.

In this case, the judge ordered that Mr. Shepstone should be sent to prison for 14 days, if he failed to provide the information within a further month. Not only that, he ordered that Mr. Shepstone should pay the applicant’s costs for the committal order.

So the court has the power to keep your application for financial provision moving. If you’re in this situation, take heart. And if you were thinking of refusing to supply a Form E, you might want to reconsider.

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