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Government to issue divorce guidance

The Government is to act on one of the recommendations made in the Law Commission’s ‘Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements’ report, and produce new guidelines for divorcing couples on what they should expect when property and income is distributed by the courts.

The report found that there was confusion about how one person should be required to meet the other’s financial needs after their relationship has ended.

The Ministry of Justice has therefore asked the Family Justice Council to take forward the Law Commission’s recommendation to clarify the law of “financial needs” on divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.

The report also made two other key recommendations:

  • that the Government carry out an assessment of the feasibility of producing numerical guidance to calculate the likely financial outcome of divorce or dissolution; and
  • that the Government make qualifying nuptial agreements statutorily binding through amendments to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1975.

The Ministry of Justice has said that it is currently considering the report more fully, including considering the next steps on pre-nuptial agreements and the feasibility of producing numerical guidance. An interim response to the report will be published in August 2014.

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