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An error in an electronic form used to help calculate the financial aspects of a divorce could potentially open old wounds for thousands of UK couples, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed. The Guardian reports that the software, known as a “Form E” on the HM Courts and Tribunals website, would wrongly state that wife or husband was worth more than they really were. If a minus figure was entered against the financial liabilities of each partner, the form failed to recognise them, boosting the overall value of their assets significantly.

Over 20,000 of the forms are believed to have been downloaded since April 2014, which means that the error went undetected for 20 months. Not all of them will have been used to calculate a division of assets between divorcing couples, however. It was spotted earlier this month by family law expert Nicola Matheson-Durrant and the Ministry of Justice only publicly confirmed the fault on Thursday.

“We are urgently investigating this issue,” says a HM Courts and Tribunals spokesperson. “Officials are taking steps to identify rapidly cases where this regrettable error may have had an impact, and we will be writing to anyone affected as soon as possible.”

Although the glitch has now been rectified, thousands of divorce judgements may have been based on erroneous data. The Guardian suggests it may open a route for unhappy couples to launch proceedings against their legal representatives or the Ministry of Justice itself. It certainly won’t be fun for anyone involved, especially for those who thought they had finally seen the back of their estranged partner.

Via: The Register

Source: The Guardian