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Making it easier for separating couples

When married couples or civil partners separate, the courts have a wide discretion to make financial orders. One important element of those orders is to ensure that the financial needs of both partners are met.

In a recently published report from the Law Commission, called ‘Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements’, the Law Commission has recommend that the Family Justice Council publish guidance on the law relating to “financial needs”. The guidance would help couples reach agreements that recognise their financial responsibilities for one another.

It has also recommended the introduction of qualifying nuptial agreements – binding agreements that couples can make to determine how their assets should be shared if their relationship ends.

Law Commissioner Professor Elizabeth Cooke said:

“We believe that married couples and civil partners should have the power to decide their own financial arrangements but should not be able to contract out of their responsibilities for each other’s financial needs or for their children. The measures we are recommending would help couples understand and meet their financial responsibilities and, where appropriate, achieve financial independence.

“In addition, qualifying nuptial agreements would give couples autonomy and control, and make the financial outcome of separation more predictable.”

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.

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