I have my first hearing for finances. The other side has not sent me their Form E, I did submit late but they were shocked to hear that I was a litigant in person. Will this first hearing simply be an arraignment hearing as I found there is nothing decided and it is not always necessary to pay for council
Forms E should be exchanged. You should file at the court on or before the due date but should agree mutual exchange with the other side.
The whole point of first hearing is to ensure you have full financial disclosure, you have set out your needs, and that the court knows what the key points of contention are between you. You cannot know that or ask questions if you have not had the other side's Form E.
If it is to be a paper hearing (as most seem to be atm) you also need to agree directions and may want or need to produce a short statement in support of sny specific things you want the court to order ie production of specific documents, valuations etc.
I would suggest you have a look at the services we provide for litigants in person and get some help to get things on track. Give the helpline a call.