Divorce software error potentially reopens thousands of settlements

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In late December 2015 the Ministry of Justice confirmed that a glitch in a Court on-line form had led to assets being potentially miscalculated in thousands of divorce cases as far back as April 2014.

Sian Kenkre, a solicitor in the Family team discusses the recent error where judges may have approved financial settlements based on incorrect figures.

The error in the on-line divorce form used to calculate financial assets of couples seeking divorce has proved embarrassing for the Justice Secretary Michael Gove who recently apologised for the mistake, calling it ‘deeply regrettable.’

It is estimated that around 20,000 people may be affected and they should be notified in the forthcoming weeks by the Court Service.

The form had been wrong since April 2014. However it seems unlikely that many divorce settlements will be re-opened as the form is not really used by members of the legal profession and even when used by litigants in person it could be seen that some of the totals did not add up.

Sian, comments:

“In any event the courts do not just rubber stamp financial agreements and a Judge should cross check the information.

It is possible that some cases could be re-considered but a miscalculation on the form is very different to spouses deliberately concealing assets or misleading the court about true wealth which has been seen in some recent landmark cases.”

If you think that you might be affected by this issue, please contact us at the Wilkes Partnership. We have one of the leading Family teams in the region, with nationally recognised leading individuals in divorce. If you would like any further information regarding this article or would like a fixed fee consultation, Please contact Sian Kenkre or the team on 0121 733 8000.