Navigating a Form E: Income Needs

This is an area of family law that rhw’s family law team get asked about on a regular basis.

The first stage in negotiating financial settlement in a divorce process is the exchange of Forms E. You must each complete the form and provide the relevant financial disclosure. Part of this process is Section 3.1 of the Form E, which requests each parties’ income needs.

What this means in reality, is that the parties must provide an indication as to how much they each spend, in terms of living expenses, on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. On top of providing the current costs, the parties’ must also provide an estimate of what they believe their future living costs will be.

We advise our clients to consider a multitude of outgoings when thinking about their outgoings.  In short the main areas for consideration can be summarised as follows:

  • Housing (main home) to include mortgage, rent, council tax, gas, electric etc.
  • Housing (any additional home)
  • Food and household costs
  • Clothing & footwear
  • Telephone and internet bills
  • Pet
  • Domestic help such as cleaners, gardeners, window cleaners etc.
  • Car – any monthly finance, road tax, insurance etc.
  • Personal expenditure such as hairdressing, opticians, personal items etc.
  • Entertainment, hobbies and holidays
  • Insurance policies
  • Employment expenses
  • Income needs for children, to include any educational fees, clothing, food, activities etc.

We also recommend to clients to review their bank statements, (12 months of which will need to be disclosed alongside the Form E anyway, so you should have these to hand) as this is the most efficient way to determine what are your actual outgoings compared to what you think you may be spending.

Of course, you will need to factor in how these outgoings will vary following your separation and divorce; will the expenditure on the above items increase or decrease?

Your completed list and forecast will then need to be compared with your income, to determine your needs, as needs are of the utmost importance when it comes to the financial settlement in a divorce. To summarise the priorities – ‘needs trump all!’

It is important to get the legal advice you need and deserve to guide you through the Divorce process. Contact rhw’s family law team on 01483 302000 or email