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Could your divorce be void?

Family Law

Could your divorce be void?

In a recent statement from the minister of Justice Shailesh Vara it has been said that the financial assets of more than 3,600 couples were miscalculated due to an assessment form error and out of these 2,235 closed divorce cases have been affected by the error and as such will need to renegotiate the settlement of their divorce!

The error that will cause so many divorced couple further pain and conflict was found at the end of last year in Form E on the Ministry of Justice’s website. The clerical error left debt off of the automatic calculation of settlements. This fault will not only affect divorce settlements from April 2014 and December 2015 but also settlements from April 2011 to January 2012.

Further investigation into the fault found that out of the 36,527 cases that could have been affected by this fault only roughly 10% (3,638) of cases actually used the calculator and will therefore have been affected. Fortunately, 1,403 cases out of the 3,638 are still open and can have the error corrected without any grievances.

The minister of Justice has instructed the HMCTS to write to all parties in the 2,235 closed cases. In which they express their sincere regret for the error. Receiving one of these letter is surely a harrowing thought with very little saving grace for anyone who has been through a tough divorce. The minister also goes on to say that there will be no court fees for making an application to vary the divorce order.

The slow actions of the ministry of justice suggests that a review more that 6 weeks of resources however, the wider implication of the error are obvious to any specialist family lawyers and has left some solicitors wondering what to them so long to deal with such an urgent matter?

Initially this error may seem like a painful but cost-less issue, as the court fees will be waivered. However, cut-backs to legal aid means that there is no longer legal aid available to people to gain specialist legal advice on this potentially complex issue.


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