The Government is looking to carry out an extensive review of 50-year-old legislation that determines how financial assets are split after divorce in England and Wales.
A review of the current laws will be undertaken by the Law Commission, the independent body which reviews legislation. The review will seek to bring clarity to the existing laws and make suggestions which could improve the current legislation.
Current laws are seen as outdated as they rely heavily on the financial position of the opposing parties and the discretion of judges in each individual case.
The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 has been criticised as uncertain and unpredictable with spouses often turning to costly litigation due to a lack of clear guidance on how wealth should be divided.
Under the current law, spouses who go to court can spend thousands of pounds on fees because legal aid is no longer available for most types of family law matters, and the drawn-out court battles can be detrimental to children.
Stuart Daniel, Head of Mander Hadley’s Family Law Department, said: “At the moment, the starting point in financial matters is to split the combined wealth of divorcing spouses equally, even if one partner is the breadwinner.
“A review of this area of family law, which is seen by many as no longer representative of modern relationships, is long overdue and we await the results of the review with interest.
“In the meantime, if you are in the process of separating and need advice on how your finances may be divided – or you are concerned about the terms of an existing financial settlement, possibly because your existing financial circumstances have recently changed – it is important to seek legal advice.”
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