Divorce Bill has second reading in the House of Lords

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Crossbench peer Baroness Deech introduced a new Bill in February 2014 for Parliament to consider on the subject of financial settlements in divorce proceedings. Her private member’s bill, The Divorce (Financial Provisions) Bill has had its second reading in the House of Lords and is now back with a committee to be examined in more detail. If this Bill is successful in making it onto the UK statue books, it would make changes to the way financial settlements within divorce proceedings are reached and would make both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements legally binding.

Baroness Deech believes this Bill will introduce clarity to divorce law, assist unrepresented parties and save “millions in litigation costs”. However, Justice Minister Lord Faulks has questioned aspects of the bill, saying it could weaken the protection of children caught up in a divorce. Currently the courts must fully consider the welfare and interests of children involved in legal proceedings, and there is a danger that this Bill could change this. The Minister also claimed that a proposed three year limit on maintenance between spouses could cause hardship for many families.

Anyone involved in divorce work or currently going through the divorce process will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of continued discussions on this Bill to see whether it does become law. Watch this space.

Amanda Crowe is a divorce solicitor at Barker GoteleeSolicitors in Ipswich.

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