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Law Commission to review financial remedy laws

Ten years after the Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements Report, in which the Law Commission considered marital property agreements and other specific aspects of the financial consequences of divorce and dissolution, the Commission will now take a fresh look at whether the issues relating to financial remedies covered in the earlier review require further consideration.

financial remedy orders

Bradie Pell

Directed by the Ministry of Justice, the new Law Commission review will carry out a detailed analysis of the current laws on financial remedies in England and Wales and will look at the law in other countries.  It will offer options on any legal reform that may be needed to the current framework and what it might look like.

Financial remedy orders determine how finances are divided after a couple separates.  They can include the sale and transfer of property, maintenance for spouses, civil partners and children, and pension splitting.

However, the laws that govern these orders are now over 50 years old, dating back to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (mirrored in the Civil Partnership Act 2004). The Law Commission will review whether they are still effective and consistent. Amongst other issues, the review will consider:

  • 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.

A scoping report, which could provide the basis for a full review and reform, will be published in November 2024.

You can contact our family law experts regarding financial issues upon divorce.  We offer a free initial appointment to new clients.  You can also find much more information about divorce on our family law web pages. 

Author: Bradie Pell, partner and head of Graysons’ family law team.

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