Matrimonial Proceedings

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 22nd December 2015.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what processes are in place to ensure that all finances of both parties are disclosed when divorce proceedings are commenced.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister for Equalities (Department for Education), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

In England and Wales, the division of property on divorce is governed by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. A court will not make a financial order in a divorce case unless it is satisfied that each party has made a full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances. Each party in a divorce is under a legal duty to make full and frank disclosure of all material facts to the other party and to the court and must sign a Statement of Truth to that effect.

If the court is of the view that one party has deliberately failed or refused to make full and frank disclosure and has concealed his or her true financial circumstances from the other party, it can impose a costs penalty on the dishonest party. In more serious cases, individuals who fail to disclose the full extent of their assets could find themselves in contempt of court and be at risk of imprisonment. If, following a judgment, it is discovered that assets have not been properly disclosed and the judgment would have been different if there had been full disclosure it is possible to apply to the court to have the judgment set aside to be reconsidered.

We recently reviewed Form E in light of an error being identified in the automatic calculations and we have amended the function of the form to ensure the calculation facility is now correct. The Ministry of Justice and the HM Courts and Tribunals Service have published advice regarding Form E at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/divorce-form-information

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