January 2017          No: 2

This private members’ Bill was introduced by Baroness Deech, to reform the law which relates to the splitting of assets, when couples divorce.

The current law is set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, section 25.

Explaining the purpose of the Bill, Baroness Deech commented that the law commission, resolution, and the centre for social justice, have all been calling for reform.

There are concerns that the current law is uncertain. Judicial discretion has led to unpredictability, and conflicting decisions. This makes it difficult for couples to agree a settlement, and for lawyers to advise on the likely outcome of contested Court proceedings.

The Bill includes provision for:-

  1. an equal division of all property and pensions acquired by a couple after marriage, as a fair starting point, and
  2. provision for short-term maintenance, and
  3. flexibility to allow the home to be retained for the carer and children, and
  4. binding prenuptial agreements.

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