HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has confirmed that it is investigating a fault in the online divorce form to confirm how many people have been affected.
The error left debts out of the calculation of settlements which means that many financial orders may now need to be revisited as they would have been agreed based on incorrect information. This means that one party may have benefited whilst the other party may be in a worse off position than they should be.
HMCTS had confirmed the presence of the error at the end of last year. However, they also confirmed that the error had been present since April 2014 and between April 2011 and January 2012. Justice Minister, Shailesh Vara MP, in a written statement to parliament confirmed that more than 3,600 settlements were miscalculated due to the error. Of those involved, more than 2,000 closed cases affected may now need to apply to court to re-negotiate their settlements.
It has been confirmed that the form used by solicitors is unaffected by the error and that judges have been made aware of the error when dealing with ongoing cases.
Ashwin Topiwala of Dodds Solicitors LLP says “It is very regrettable that this error has occurred. Families who go through the divorce process are often happy for it to end and do not wish to then revisit it. However, it does highlight why it is beneficial to have a solicitor involved. We are able to confirm that all matters are being taken into account and ensure that the best agreement achievable is reached for our client. This means that the matter then does not need to re-visited at a later date causing worry and sometimes further argument between the couple.”
If you completed an online divorce between April 2011 and January 2012 or after March 2014, please feel free to contact a member of our Family Team on 0116 2628596 who would be happy to assist you in ensuring that your financial settlement was agreed with the correct information having been taken into account.