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Separating couples get help to manage property

Written by : News | Tue 09th Dec 2014

No more so than when property ownership is considered.

To simplify matters the Law Commission is recommending a set of measures aimed at making it easier for couples to manage their financial affairs on divorce or at the end of a civil partnership.

It has recommended that the Family Justice Council produces authoritative guidance on financial needs. The guidance would explain the outcome a judge would aim for in determining a settlement, including achieving eventual financial independence. This would enable couples to reach an agreement that recognises their financial responsibilities to each other. The guidance would also help to bring more consistency to how the law is applied in the courts.

The Law Commission is also recommending the introduction of "qualifying nuptial agreements".

These would enable married couples and civil partners to make a binding agreement about how their property or finances should be shared if their relationship breaks down.

The agreements would be enforceable as contracts but would apply only after both partner’s financial needs, and any financial responsibilities towards children, have been met.

And they would be binding only if, at the time of signing, both parties had disclosed material information about their financial situation and both received legal advice.

Professor Elizabeth Cooke, Law Commissioner for property, family and trust law, said: "Qualifying nuptial agreements would give couples autonomy and control, and make the financial outcome of separation more predictable. We have built in safeguards to ensure that they cannot be used to impose hardship on either party, nor to escape responsibility for children or to burden the State."


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