One of the big problems with software is that when it doesn’t work correctly, the absence of ‘visibility’ of the process can often mean that the fact that the output is wrong isn’t immediately obvious.
So it came to pass that thousands of people who have used an online form (form E) for calculating net assets for the purposes of divorce proceedings may have had their assets overstated.
The simple error, which has existed since the form went live on the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) website in April 2014, simply fails to deduct liabilities from the asset totals, thus overstating net assets.
The result will be financial settlements and payment schedules for maintenance which will be based on incorrect information.
The MoJ has given an undertaking that it will contact the people involved.
The result may well be claims by people who have been paying maintenance that their payments have been too high, seeking repayment of past overpayments and a reduction of future payments.
The net solution is likely to be a reduction in income for thousands in receipt of maintenance payments.