The current divorce system sends a “bad message” to young women, crossbench peer Baroness Deech has claimed, discouraging them from achievement on their own merits.
Speaking to the Financial Times, the Baroness said this message was essentially:
“Never mind about A-levels or a degree or taking the Bar course — come out and find a footballer.”
The academic and lawyer has actively campaigned to change the law surrounding financial provision on divorce. She has tabled a private member’s bill – the Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill – which is currently at committee stage in the House of Lords. If it reaches the statute books, the bill would make both pre- and postnuptial agreements legally binding, as well as protecting assets owned by each party prior to the marriage.
In an interview with the newspaper held to mark her departure from the Bar Standards Board, the peer insisted that generous divorce settlements sent the wrong message to women. Despite claims that they should be pushing to reach the top in business or law, she said:
“…we have a whole area of law which says once you are married you need never go out to work, [that] you are automatically entitled to everything you might need even if that marriage breaks down and it’s your fault.”
People report the “most horrendous stories” when the topic of divorce comes up, she continued. There is a widespread perception that the current system is “terribly unfair” and in need of major change.
The Bar Standards Bar monitors training and standards for barristers.
For more on the Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill, see here.