Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors

What happens if my spouse refuses to complete a Form E

If you are taking part in a financial application in a court setting, you will need to complete a Form E as part of that process.  This is a lengthy form, requiring detailed information about your financial situation, and asking you to attach significant amounts of documentation in support of your answers. On the front page the Form E sets out the consequences for failing to complete the form properly:

“You have a duty to the court to give a full, frank and clear disclosure of all your financial and other relevant circumstances. A failure to give full and accurate disclosure may result in any order the court makes being set aside. If you are found to have been deliberately untruthful, criminal proceedings may be brought against you for fraud under the Fraud Act 2006. The information given in this form must be confirmed by a statement of truth. Proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against a person who makes or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth.”

What happens though in the situation where a participant is refusing to complete the form, or will agree to only partially complete the form, perhaps omitting key documents or information?

In August of this year, a case appeared before the Central Family Court in London (W v S (Committal) [2015] EWFC B130) in which a party (“S”) failed to properly complete a Form E.  He completed half of the form, failed to sign it, and did not attach the required documents.  He attached a piece of paper stating “The information I have provided is more than adequate”.

At the next hearing, the court asked him once again to complete the form properly. When he failed to do so, W’s solicitors issued an application for committal. The circuit judge hearing that case at the Central Family Court agreed that S had wilfully breached the order and stated as follows:

“In the circumstances, I am, given the wilfulness of the breach, even though it is a first breach, going to sentence him to a period of imprisonment, but I am going to suspend it to give him a final opportunity to produce what is required. So what I am going to do is to order that he provide a fully compliant Form E dealing with the matters set out in the schedule of breaches. The next hearing is on 23rd September, so I am going to order that he provide that by 9th September, which is two weeks before that hearing, and, in particular, that must have all the relevant documents appended to it. If he does not comply with the order to file and serve it by 4.00 p.m. on 9th September, then he will serve a sentence of imprisonment of 14 days. I hope that will not be necessary. As I said, it is not the court’s wish or desire to send people to prison; it is the court’s wish and desire to see its orders complied with in the interests of the child, in this case.”

Whilst the court is willing to allow participants in the process additional time to comply with court orders, it will not permit wilful breaches to pass without consequence.

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