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FAMILY LAW - Form E error

It has recently been announced that many people could be paying too much in spousal or court order child maintenance payments, following an error on the electronic version of Form E.



The liabilities section at part 2.0 of the form wrongly calculated the total amount of liabilities that a party had, and therefore they may have been ordered to pay a sum of maintenance or provide a lump sum to their partners that was too high. Alternatively some parties debts may not have been calculated correctly when they were being awarded maintenance meaning that they have been paid too little.

In financial proceedings the courts will essentially look at the needs of each party based upon the following principles:


  • The income, earning capacity, property or other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the forseeable future, including any potential increase in earning capacity.

  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of both parties.

  • The standard of living enjoyed by both parties within the marriage.

  • The age of each party and the duration of the marriage.

  • Any physical or mental disability of either party.

  • Any contributions which either party has made to the marriage or is likely to make.

  • The conduct of each party (if it is considered that to disregard the behaviour would be unfair).

  • The value to each party of any benefit which, upon dissolution of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.


Should there be any children from the marriage their needs will be placed as a priority, often meaning that the resident parent will receive a greater reward from the assets of the marriage.

It is often very difficult to vary an order once it has been made. The error on the Form E means that there is now the capability for many cases to be reopened on this basis, to ensure that each party received a fair award.

If you have concerns that your settlement is not fair, or if you have been directly affected as a result of this error, please do not hesitate to contact this firms Amie Miller on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 020 7790 200

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