March 5, 2020
The recent announcement in Parliament on divorce law follows commitments to retain the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill in the Queen’s Speech. Naomi Potter, a collaboratively trained family law specialist at the Gordon Brown Law Firm, reflects: “I am pleased to hear that Parliament is reintroducing law reform on divorce. The current rules are outdated and require couples to come up with a list of reasons for the divorce in order to convince a judge why they should be allowed to go their separate ways. “You can’t blame yourself in the process and that means you have to blame your spouse, which can create unnecessary conflict and upset. “If you don’t wish to blame your spouse and wish to go ahead with a divorce, you have to be separated for at least two years. If your spouse won’t consent, you have to wait until you have been separated five years.” Naomi highlighted the case of Tini Owens, 68, who was compelled to remain in a ‘loveless’ marriage after unsuccessfully taking her fight for a divorce from her husband of 40 years to the Supreme Court. The judgment meant it was up to Parliament to change the law. She adds: “If divorce proceedings aren’t contested, a divorce can be completed within around four to six months. However, if matters are more contentious, it can take longer, which can be stressful for those involved. Naomi is an accredited specialist with Resolution, a UK-wide group of family justice professionals who works to resolve issues in a constructive way. She deals with matrimonial finance and divorce cases, as well as complex family and property matters.
More young people opting for prenups
The stigma of consulting a solicitor ahead of getting married is disappearing, according to Gillian Mitchell, family law specialist at GBLF, who is also accredited with Resolution in both complex financial provision and private child law.
A prenup is a written contract a couple enter into before marriage or a civil partnership, designed to set out ownership of assets and establish rights over joint and sole wealth including property, debt, income and inheritance, and how they’d like it to be divided if a separation is on the cards.
Gillian has more than 20 years’ experience in the legal sector and specialises in divorce, matrimonial finance and pre and postnuptial agreements as well as child law matters.
“A prenup can avoid the usual forensic accounting that is often necessary for dealing with and resolving matrimonial finance for divorcing couples. It is encouraging to see couples feel comfortable in talking about money and protecting their assets,” she says.
“If a relationship ends, a prenup can help protect a couple from financial and emotional stress. Prenups have considerable weight in court and while they might not be automatically binding on paper, they can sometimes help in a dispute.
“Deciding to sign up to this kind of agreement, of course, is a personal decision and one that can only be decided upon together. I’d always recommend instructing a specialist family law solicitor and finalise your agreement in advance of the wedding.”
Gordon Brown Law Firm
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