Headlines from the Law Commission report on matrimonial property, needs and agreements — part one

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By Suzanne Kingston

The Law Commission has published its much awaited report on matrimonial property, needs and agreements. In its press release entitled ‘Making it easier for separating couples to manage their finances and property’, the Law Commission sets out its three main aims: first, to introduce a draft bill that will make qualifying nuptial agreements legally binding, so long as certain conditions are met; second, to recommend that the Family Justice Council produces authoritative guidance on ‘financial needs’ so as to equip separating couples with the legal knowledge to reach agreement about finances and property without having to go to court; and third, to recommend that the government commissions a long-term study to assess whether a non-statutory formula for spousal maintenance (such as the sort used in Canada) would work in England and Wales.

Prenuptial agreements are already recognised by the family courts in England and Wales and are capable of being enforced, if freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of their implications and if certain safeguards have been met. What is newly proposed by the commission is that pre-nuptial agreements should become legally binding once the financial needs of the parties and any children involved have been met, so long as both parties have received independent legal advice and both have exchanged material details of their respective finances…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Withers briefing.