Form E=MC2

Form E – Towards a new theory of relativity

With all apologies to Einstein I would like to propose a re-formulation of his classic theory E=MC2.  As follows:

E = Form E

M= Matrimonial

C = Confusion

2= both spouses/civil partners

The expense of the divorce case is accelerated by the Form E creating Matrimonial Confusion in the minds of both spouses.  Many people struggle with the Form E  (some lawyers too, I dare say) and it is a form that can catch out the unwary.  Luckily, instead of just one Form E, we now have three Forms E.  Simple.

The Family Procedure Rules 2010 came into force on 6th April, 2011.  One of the changes introduced is the splitting of the olde worlde Form E into three new forms:

Form E – this is the document that should be used by husbands and wives or civil partners in divorce or civil partnership dissolution proceedings to disclose their finances when applying for a Financial Order or if applying for financial relief following a divorce or dissolution overseas.  This is by some margin, the largest and most complex  financial disclosure document designed to torture lawyers and clients alike.  Fortunately, I expect the Siaro platform to be able to generate a Form E for family lawyers with virtually one click which should produce costs savings for clients.

Form E1 – this is the document that should be used for any other financial remedy in the County Court (in other words, do not use this form if you are divorcing your spouse or civil partner).  Form E1 is suitable for claims made on behalf of children under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 (for instance, if the children’s parents are not married or in a civil partnership).

Form E2 – this is the document to use when applying for a financial order in the Family Proceedings Court (the Magistrates’ Court).  It is simplified and presumes that the parties will have a small capital base and modest income.

To attempt to shine some light on these Forms I will be dealing with certain pages or sections of the documents as and when they appear to cause some difficulty right here

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  1. David Cooper’s avatar

    Hi Alan

    I simply need to know if I need to form in another Form E or Form E1.

    I was divorced 3 years ago and have been paying spousal maintenance set by the court for that period. My ex-wife has now re-applied to the court for an extension of that maintenance agreement as she claims she cannot work herself due to depression (!)

    As I am already divorced it would appear that form E is no longer applicable.

    Your advice please.


  2. Alan Larkin’s avatar

    Hi David,

    I’ve always used Form E for a variation of spousal maintenance (in the county court). Note paragraph 1.14 which asks if the application is to vary an order – which it is. I tend to avoid the magistrates court (Family Proceedings Court) myself but if your ex-wife has issued there then you will presumably need to complete E2 instead.

    Good luck,



  3. Jane’s avatar

    Hi, can you tell me should i challenge my ex for stating on Form E2 that he is responsible for his partners son 5 days a week when he states at housing situation that he pays rent to live there.? ( £450/ month) The child is fully supported by his own father and mother.
    Ex is applying to vary the order down as one of our two children now live with him. His income has increased by £1000/ month since the order was made 18 months ago., although mine has gone down. I have lost £400 in benefits because my son left so a further reduction in my global ( includes spousal) maintenance )would be a huge whammy. Plus lifestyles are vastly different ( new partner has large house, no mortgage and her own income) Ex refused to give full disclosure on previous Form E , including partners income.
    I feel that although Form E isn’t relevant for us for house and assets and pension, Form E 2 is too brief.


    1. Alan Larkin’s avatar

      Hi Jane,

      You should challenge anything on the E2 form that you believe to be incorrect or inconsistent with other relevant facts stated on that form. The variation I presume is in relation only to maintenance and you state it is a global order. The issue therefore is whether the original maintenance order should be varied. The court will need to consider your respective incomes and your income needs and decide whether and by how much to vary the original order.

      If he says he is staying at his partner’s house and he admits to paying rent there then he is cohabiting. That means that he is able to share income resources with his partner. You should ask the court for an order that he discloses his partner’s income. If he objects you can ask the court to draw an inference that they have two incomes and that, allied to the increase in his own income and the drop in yours should be taken into account. The payment he says he makes to his partner each month should show on the bank statements he must produce.

      If one of your children has gone to live with him then that will be a relevant consideration for the court. There is no way around that – he will have the primary responsibility of the costs of raising that child as you do with your remaining child. I think this is all going to come down to what the court accepts as the level of your respective incomes and the costs of living you both have in your new circumstances. The E2 form does not ask for a great amount of detail in respect of your income needs. You could always attach a more detailed list (provided you can show you genuinely have the expenditure) to the E2 form to see if the magistrates will accept that and it may help them to understand your situation.


    2. catherine’s avatar

      do i need to fill in an e1 form when iam on benfits i have no job or savings and care for our 4 children,my soon to be ex works full time in the polce.thank you.


      1. Alan Larkin’s avatar

        Hi Catherine,

        I would suggest that you complete the E1 Form since it is important that the court understands your financial position. Your financial difficulties can then be helpfully contrasted with your ex’s financial position. If a particular question is not relevant then just put down N/A. But try to answer as fully and as carefully as possible. This is your first and best chance to let the judge know about your circumstances.

        Best wishes,



      2. Joanne Barchi’s avatar

        I am using a Form E to take my ex back to court for an application to vary spousal maintenance.

        I am acting for myself..BUT my ex is retorting (under solicitor’s advice) with a Form E2.

        Thus I guess I am going to have to ask a lot of questions as my ex is much better off than I am…

        so for me Form E all the way !!



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