Family law… but not as we know it

Firstly, huge procedural changes will be made with the creation of a single Family Court and reform of court procedures. This is aimed at streamlining the process and ensuring cases are allocated to the right level of judge, but only time will tell if that aim is achieved.

Substantive reform may also be on the way with the anticipated arrival of the long-awaited Law Commission Report on Marital Property Agreements, and a review on the law on financial obligations on divorce to meet needs and the treatment of non-matrimonial property, together with an associated draft bill. Publication of the report has been delayed because the scope of the project was extended to cover a review of needs and non-matrimonial property. Given the wide scope of the report, it could result in fundamental changes being introduced.

Further changes to laws relating to separating couples with families will make its way onto the statute books when the Children and Families Bill is enacted, replacing ‘contact’ and ‘residence’ orders with ‘child arrangements’ orders and introducing a legal presumption that the involvement of each parent in his or her life will, in the usual case, further that child’s welfare…

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