High profile divorce battles show urgent need for law reform

The national family justice organisation Resolution, says that, while it’s easy to get caught up in the drama of public divorce battles, they point to some fundamental issues with the way our courts deal with financial claims when couples separate.

Many of the divorces cases in the news involve huge sums of money and colourful personalities, such as green energy multimillionaire Dale Vince, who recently went to court to battle it out with his ex-wife Kathleen Wyatt about whether he should pay her maintenance 30 years after their divorce.

What we need to be looking at is the uncertainty caused by the current system for divorcing people with average incomes. The family court in England and Wales has the flexibility to tailor financial awards in divorce cases to individual circumstances. While this can be helpful, the lack of certainty around things like the level and timescale for payments of maintenance ex-partners means that no one who enters the divorce courts can be sure about what their financial outcome will be.

For couples splitting smaller assets on divorce, perhaps without seeking legal advice, can cause confusion and serious financial problems for one or both former partners.

Resolution, has recently released a Manifesto for Family Law calling for urgent reform of the family justice system, including around divorce financial matters.

The Dale Vince case, and others like it illustrate the need for change to divorce finance law as set out in the Resolution Manifesto. Resolution members, working in Lancashire want reform to create greater certainty around likely financial outcomes on divorce, with the aim of managing expectations and making it easier to reach agreement. We want to see a system where people get divorced with a better understanding of how it will affect their future finances, rather than facing financial ruin as a result of separation.

Resolution members in Lancashire will be campaigning to raise awareness of the case for divorce financial reform over the coming months, particularly with our newly elected Members of Parliament in the wake of the May General Election.

Gill Carr

About Gill Carr

Gill Carr is an Associate Solicitor within the Family department at Forbes Solicitors. Gill’s blogs cover his specialisms of child protection, acting for both parents and children together with family members. Gill also advises and comments upon forced marriage, divorce, separation, child arrangements and financial matters. Gill writes about current legislation and case law relating to family law.
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