What is a D81?
A D81 Statement of Information for a Consent Order is a standard court form which has to be filled in and sent to the court with your application for a consent order.
Where can I get a D81?
The D81 is completed for you as part of our consent order services. Or you can download a copy on the court website.
Why does the court need a statement of information?
The District Judge needs to decide whether your agreement is fair before he/she signs it.
The D81 statement of information provides the court with the minimum, basic details required to make that assessment.
I am often asked how long it will take the court to “process” a consent order. The reality is that this is not an administrative process at all. A District Judge has to consider all applications for a consent order and has to consider whether they are fair before they can be approved.
So how does a judge consider whether an agreement is fair?
Even though you have already agreed how to divide your assets, the district judge still has to apply the law. This means he/she has take into account all of the factors of section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. For example,
- how much each of the parties to the marriage earns or could earn
- what the overall assets are worth
- if there are any children, where are they living or going to live
- has there been any special contribution such as an inheritance
- is either party going to remarry or live with someone else soon
How does the judge know the answers to these questions (and more – these are just a few)?
Brief details are recorded on the statement of information form.
So, without this form, the district judge cannot approve your consent order.
We’ve been separated a long time – do I still need to put up to date values of all my assets on the D81 form?
Yes you do. The form states that the information has to be correct “so far as possible” at the time the form is signed.
I know from dealing with thousands of separated couples that the longer they have been separated, the more reluctant they are generally to give up to date information about their income, assets and liabilities on the form.
Both parties have to sign the form to say that they have seen it fully completed by the other person.
There is no way around this.
But what you can do, is explain any alterations since separation in section 9 of the form. You may want help with this, to understand what will be relevant to the judge (and what won’t).
We agreed the division of our finances 2 years ago. Will our agreement still look fair now?
This is a really common concern.
Will a judge think that the agreement reached is fair if circumstances have changed significantly?
Maybe one spouse has lost all their money whilst the other has invested wisely.
There are two possible considerations here.
There is a good reason why circumstances have changed:
If you think that the agreement is actually still fair, you probably need to add some detailed information to section 9 to explain why.
Has the spouse who lost all the money simply frittered it away, or gambled it perhaps?
Has one spouse inherited recently or worked incredibly hard, re-trained perhaps, or had a lucky break.
If this is the case write it on the form or on a separate letter or note so that the judge is aware of it.
There is no guarantee that the judge will agree; but if you want to have a better idea of what is likely to be taken into account and what isn’t, take advice.
The agreement wasn’t fair in the first place:
If the agreement wasn’t fair, then no matter what you “got away with”, you should possibly reconsider it.
Was the poorer spouse forced to live on capital? Is that why it is all gone?
Did the better off spouse refuse to either pay some maintenance or divide the capital to take their uneven incomes into account?
If the agreement doesn’t look fair, it is likely that the judge will ask some questions.
So you may think it’s worth taking some advice before sending the consent order application into court. Then at least you are prepared.
How much additional information do you put in section 9 of the D81?
There is no formula for this. It depends on your circumstances.
If you have any doubt about how to do this or what may or may not be considered fair you can book a consultation to discuss this with me before sending the statement of information form to court and I can help you to complete it properly.
Consultations are really useful and they don’t have to be expensive. We offer a minimum consultation time of 30 minutes.
Finally, can you fill in the D81 statement of information by yourself?
Yes, you can. Or you can pay a solicitor to help you with it.
The D81, like any other official form, strikes dread and fear into a lot of people.
They worry that their figures aren’t accurate enough; they suspect their former spouse/civil partner hasn’t been completely honest at all; and they don’t want a small mistake to result in it being sent back or the order being refused.
Judges are not looking to refuse consent orders.
They simply want to be sure that you have considered your options carefully before entering into a binding legal agreement.
The only information they have to base whether the agreement is fair or not on, is in the D81 statement of information.
If you want help with one, get in touch.