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Software error to re-open thousands of divorce cases in UK

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London: Some of the 20,000 divorcing couples in the UK may have to re-open negotiations after a software error was discovered in an online form used by them.

The error on the Ministry of Justice website had been present since April 2014 but was only uncovered recently, prompting the government to launch an urgent investigation.

The issue with the form, which records couples’ financial details, could mean thousands of financial settlements are based on incorrect calculations.

The UK’s Courts and Tribunal Service is in the process of contacting those affected.

“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,” a spokesperson said.

The mistake was in Form E on the Ministry of Justice website and it was rectified only earlier this month.

The mistake could mean some of those who have settled divorces in the past 20 months could have to re-open negotiations.

Not all couples use the online form as some submit their calculations on paper, but up to 20,000 couples have used an online form which potentially over-inflated the value of their property by failing to subtract debts and other liabilities from the total figure.