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Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill

The Bill is an amendment to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and will make provision in connection with financial settlements following divorce. Current legislation provides the court with powers under that Act in relation to the making of Orders for financial provision between parties to a marriage. The Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill will significantly change the way the courts in England and Wales deal with financial provision upon breakdown of marriage or civil partnership, and seeks to provide more clarity in the law, making settlement of financial claims more certain. One key change if this Bill is passed by Parliament will be that any Pre-nuptial or Post-nuptial agreements will be treated as legally binding upon the parties providing that the parties have taken independent legal advice on its terms, that they fully disclosed to each other all of their assets before the agreement was entered into and that any Pre-nuptial agreement was made no less than 21 days prior to the marriage.  Whilst it could be argued that the current system under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 causes ambiguity, it does provide the courts a wide discretion, and therefore flexibility to apply factors under the Act to enable a fair decision to be reached and taking account of the parties’ individual circumstances. This Bill seeks to provide more certainty but it could also be argued that too much inflexibility in the way financial provision is dealt with by the courts risks leaving one or both parties with inadequate provision or an unjust outcome.  Atherton Godfrey has accredited specialist family lawyers who keep up to date with constant changes in legislation in order to provide you with the best and most accurate advice in relation to divorce, dissolution of civil partnership or separation and financial provision, Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial agreements, whilst not currently legally binding, are becoming more common and recent case law suggests that the courts are considering seriously the terms of any Pre-nuptial or Post-nuptial agreement when determining financial provision under current legislation.  If you need advice in relation to a pre-marriage agreement or post marriage agreement please contact our Family Law Team today. Call 01302 320621 or email

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