When you file for divorce in Hong Kong and proceed through the court system, there are a number of steps and forms you need to fill out as part of your divorce. One of the key disclosure documents you must fill out is a Form E. A Form E is a disclosure document which outlines your assets and liabilities thus providing your ex-spouse and the court with full transparency of your financial status with supporting financial documents. In the Form E, you will need to fill out all the details of your financial status including your income, property, assets and liabilities. This document is signed under oath so it must be a true statement as a false statement may then be a contempt of court. In the event you and your spouse come to an agreement over the finances without court intervention, you both may be spared from exchanging a Form E if it is mutually agreed to waive the exchange of such disclosures. If however, you proceed through the court system and litigate your divorce, a Form E will be mandatory and you will have to exchange this disclosure document with your ex-spouse.
Let’s go through a Form E so you have a better idea of what is asked in the document and what information you must provide:
Part 1: General Information: In Part 1 of the Form E, you will need to provide general information such as your full name, birthdate, date of marriage and employment information. In this section, you will also need to provide your date of separation, whether you intend to remarry and information about your children such as their birthdates and whom the children currently live with. It is in this section that you can provide the current educational arrangements for the children and what you propose for future arrangements and if there are any maintenance arrangements or orders for maintenance between you and your spouse.
Part 2: Assets and Liabilities: In Part 2 of the Form E, you will need to provide information about your place of residence and specify whether you rent or own the property. You will need to provide information on whether you currently live with others including your new partner and children, whatever is applicable. If you own property in Hong Kong or elsewhere outside of the jurisdiction, you must provide this information including any details about the property such as mortgage/legal charges against the property, your estimate of the current property value and title information. As part of your assets, you will also need to provide bank details in Hong Kong and in any other jurisdiction, investment accounts, shareholding/beneficial interest in companies, directorships or any other businesses and also any insurance policies and pensions/MPF which you may have an interest in. Valuable personal items are also part of your asset pool so you will need to detail these items such as cars, boats, art and jewelry. It is important to note that if you hold cryptocurrency, this is also disclosable and you must provide information/supporting documentation about any and all crypto accounts. In addition to assets, you will also need to detail liabilities in detail including loans, revolving credit and credit card charges.
Part 3: Income: In Part 3 of the Form E, you will need to provide details of your income including base salary, bonuses, commissions and any allowances provided by your work. If you receive income from any other source, this is where you will need to provide the information and supporting information.
Part 4: Current Monthly Expenses: Part 4 of the Form E is where you will need to provide a complete breakdown of your monthly expenses. In this section, the Form E guides you through each area of expenses and lists out different types of general expenses that you will likely have such as meals at home, transport, insurance premiums and other expenses related to the children such as tuition, holidays and clothing/shoes. In this section, you are also asked to provide a list of anticipated future expenses and this is a good opportunity to list out what changes are in store whether there will be an increase or decrease in expenses.
Part 5: Other Information: In Part 5 of the Form E, you will be given an opportunity to provide details as to whether there has been any significant changes to your assets during the last 36 months and this includes assets both in Hong Kong and elsewhere. This is where you will have an opportunity to explain any major changes that you have experienced with your income or loss of assets through special circumstances. You will also be given an opportunity to explain whether the conduct of either party should be taken into consideration. It should be noted that this is only taken into consideration in exceptional circumstances however, the court does provide you an opportunity to provide such details in this section. Additionally, you can also explain the standard of living during the marriage enjoyed by yourself and the children and any other circumstances which could significantly affect the extent of financial provision that should be made by or for you and the children. In Part 5 of the Form E, this is your opportunity to provide as much narrative detail as possible as to the financial circumstances of your family and what you expect/anticipate is needed in order to maintain the status quo.
Part 6: Orders Sought: In Part 6 of the Form E, you will be able to list out what orders you seek from the court. If you have hired a solicitor, this is the time to discuss with your solicitor your expectations as to what it is you seek from the divorce.
Part 7: Schedule of Attachments: Finally in Part 7 of the Form E, you will be provided with a checklist of all the supporting documents you must provide with your Form E. It is important you go through each item so that all required supporting documentation are provided as attachments.
Filling out a Form E will be daunting especially if you have representing yourself in a divorce. It is recommended that you seek the assistance of a solicitor to help you fill out this financial disclosure as this will be a key document in your divorce and will be referred to many times throughout the court process. You should be reminded that you will need to sign the Form E under oath. Thus, the document must be truthful and you must provide full disclosure. Before you submit a Form E, be sure to speak with a solicitor so you can be sure that all information has been correctly listed and that you are not missing anything of great importance.