The divorce process: private members’ bill aims to simplify divorce

A private member’s bill, the Divorce (Financial Provisions) Bill, introduced by Lady Deech, has received its second reading in the House of Lords. The bill amends the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 with a provision to make pre- and post-nuptial agreements binding as well as sharing the net value of matrimonial property equally between the parties and limit to three years the length of maintenance payments.

Lady Deech said the removal of legal aid for most family cases makes the bill ‘urgent’, as ‘hundreds of thousands’ of litigants in person are presenting at court with no clear law and structure to guide them.

The leading judgments in the field arise from ‘big money’ cases that are not necessarily helpful for low-income families, added Lady Deech. ‘These highly visible divorce cases that make the newspapers don’t do anything for women who work for a living,’ Lady Deech expanded. ‘What we see is women who have never done much, never put their hands in cold water, getting big pay-outs. That does not inspire young women to make a living.’ …

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