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Divorce Reform - An end to legal sharing

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The Daily Mail recently ran an article regarding couples who have split up and may have to divide their assets according to a ‘divorce formula’ which legal reformers have suggested.

The proposal being mooted by the Law Commission would end the longstanding presumption that former spouses share the proceeds of their marriage equally.

Instead, a divorcing husband or wife could be allowed to keep all the property and cash they had before their marriage.  The recommendations follow the Commission’s recent consultation on pre-nuptial arrangements.

The reforms are aimed at reducing the acrimony between separating couples, and of course, would hopefully reduce the divorce costs too.

Certain landmark rulings may well be behind the attempt to draw up the new divorce settlement law.  Two key Court decisions in recent years have been looked at.

in 2010, the Supreme Court allowed A German heiress, Katrin Radmacher to keep the greatest share of her £100 million fortune according to an agreement drawn up with her husband, Nicolas Granatino, before their marriage.

The ruling effectively gave pre-nuptial agreements legal force in English divorce law.  However, the position is not clear cut. There were also a number of big money divorce settlements which have given wives the right to a greater share of their former husband’s assets in recent years.

Notably, in 2006, divorcee Melissa Miller was awarded £5million of her City Fund Manager husband Alan’s £30million wealth even though her marriage lasted only three years and there were no children.

What we have seen recently, especially over the last year and a half is an increase in instructions from clients regarding pre-nuptial agreements being taken out by those seeking to protect their wealth.  This area of the law continues to be somewhat uncertain and specialist advice at an early stage is likely to be beneficial.

If you are in need of legal advice before marrying or on separation please contact us for an initial free consultation by telephoning our Family Team on 01245 228126