Significant changes to the way in which finances are dealt with following a divorce may be on the horizon following the second reading of the Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill introduced by Baroness Deech.
The Bill proposes reforms to the principles to be applied in financial applications, which are governed by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, now more than 40 years old. If the Bill is passed without amendment it would introduce as a fair starting point the following principles:
- equal division of all property and pensions acquired during the marriage (i.e. excluding pre marriage assets);
- short term maintenance of 5 years; and
- allowing pre nups to be binding.
Sandra Meakins, Family Law Partner in Kidd Rapinet’s Farnham office considers that these proposed reforms will provide certainty and reduce legal costs for people overall. She says “Reform, provided there are appropriate safeguards, is needed. We currently have a system which is largely based on judicial interpretation and discretion. As a result the outcome of a court case can be unpredictable and means that people who are divorcing suffer stress and high costs when their case and their future may be down to one Judge’s interpretation of the 1973 Act”.
If you find that you are experiencing marital difficulties, it is now even more important than ever to consult one of our experienced Family Lawyers for help.