Law Commission considers ‘cookie cutter’ divorce options

Divorce|News|Relationships|December 10th 2012

The Law Commission is considering a new system for calculating divorce payouts which would be based on mathematical formulae.
The system would use such factors as the length of the marriage, differences in income and the number of children to quickly calculate payments. It would be based on a similar one introduced in Canada in 2008.
According to a report in the London Evening Standard, the system could cut costs,  increase consistency amongst judgements and discourage unrealistic claims. As a result married and divorcing couples would have greater confidence in the legal system..
However, critics claim a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to divorce could mean the individual merits of each case not being taken into account.
The proposed system would set upper and lower limits for divorce settlements.
The plans were unveiled at the Inner Temple during an event attended by senior members of the judiciary. Appeal Court judge Lord Justice Munby welcomed the proposals:
“If criminal practitioners can live with it and if personal injury practitioners can live with it, why can’t we?”
The Commission is also considering whether or not to make prenuptial agreements binding in law.
Photo by herbrm via Flickr under a Creative Common licence

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(4)

  1. Fiona says:

    I think a formula would be a good idea for arriving at a fair starting point for negotiation. However, where children are involved there should be scope to consider special or additional circumstances.

  2. JamesB says:

    I like cookies 🙂 x.

  3. Churchill says:

    A fair starting point is only possible through full and frank disclosure. When one side has access to assets and/or can influence asset valuations, the proposal is still a flawed.

  4. Ellesolicitor says:

    Of course, non of these “cookie-cutters” are absolute. A divorce court is given discretion to vary from the “standard” approach, and the Legislature has given the courts a lengthy list of factors that are to be considered before a decision can be made on child support, property division or maintenance. However, the standard approach is preferred in most cases by most judges, because of the tremendous difficulty the court has in deciding these intensely personal issues.

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