Going through a divorce or ending a civil partnership is often a stressful and hugely consequential period for any couple – for both their personal and family lives, as well as their finances.
Every year, tens of thousands of couples begin proceedings for separation which result in the use of financial remedy orders – orders which determine how their finances are divided after they are no longer together.
Financial remedy orders can include the sale and transfer of property, maintenance for spouses, civil partners, and children, and the splitting of pensions, however, the laws which govern the use of financial remedy orders and the cases which are relied on by judges to determine in cases of dispute how finances on separation should be fairly divided, are now several decades old, dating back to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, and subsequently mirrored in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 so after 50 years following the passage of the 1973 Act, the Government has asked the Law Commission to review whether the current law is working effectively, and delivering fair and consistent outcomes for divorcing couples.
In its review, the Law Commission will carry out a detailed analysis of the current laws on financial remedies, to determine whether there are problems with the current framework which require law reform, and what the options for reform might look like.
The project will consider the financial orders made by courts in England and Wales, as well as the law in other countries. It will conclude by publishing a scoping report in September 2024, which could provide the basis for a full review and future financial remedies reform.
As part of its analysis of existing law, the Law Commission will consider whether there is potential for reform in specific areas such as:
• The discretionary powers given to judges over the division of financial assets, and whether there is a need for a clear set of principles, enshrined in law, to give more certainty to divorcing couples.
• Whether there should be wider powers given to the courts to make orders for children over the age of eighteen.
• How maintenance payments for an ex-spouse or civil partner should work.
• What consideration the courts should give to the behaviour of separating parties when making financial remedy orders.
• Orders relating to pensions and whether they are overlooked when dividing the divorcing parties’ assets.
• The factors judges must consider when deciding which, if any, financial remedy orders to make.
How can Prism Family Law help?
Until a change in the law occurs, the law relating to how finances are divided on separation remain as they are which given 50 years of development, often requires careful thought and consideration, so to that end, at Prism Family Law, we can make the process of obtaining a financial remedy order easier by helping you with the processes involved.
If you have any questions about financial remedies on separation, then in the first instance, please contact solicitor Andrew Wraith at Prism Family Law for more information on 0191 269 6871 or email [email protected] for help.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.