Guidance due later this year will bring clarity to the issue of financial needs following divorce or separation, the government has claimed.
In a recently published report entitled Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements, the Law Commission said current law does not clearly define financial needs following the end of a marriage or civil partnership, leading to confusion about the extent to which people should be required to support their former partners. Instead family court judges make decisions about the distribution of money and other assets on a case by case basis.
The Commission, which reviews current legislation, therefore recommended that the Family Justice Council (FJC) issue guidance on the issue, setting out the desired outcomes when reaching a financial settlement and helping couples know what to expect following divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership.
The guidance will include the achievement of eventual financial independence whenever possible, Family Law reports.
It will also be aimed at helping to dispel “myths about need and help couples to approach the separation process with realistic expectations.”
“We want separating couples to have the best information available to help when they approach the difficult and emotional separation process. This new guidance will lead to a better understanding and more realistic expectations of what they will expect to receive as financial settlements and enable swifter and better resolution of disputes.”
“We are committed to making sure that when couples do make the decision to separate they make use of mediation rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court.”
The FJC is an advisory body which monitors the legal system and advises on planned reforms.
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