Couples still need lawyers to arrange financial settlements despite ‘No Fault’ divorce reforms

Megan Bennie

Solicitor

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May 24, 2022

A specialist family lawyer has said financial settlements remain contentious during divorce proceedings, despite new ‘no fault’ reforms designed to simplify the separation process.

Megan Bennie, a solicitor in Furley Page’s Family Law team, said it remains essential for couples to seek professional legal advice when dealing with financial issues during their divorce.

Megan said: “The new no fault divorce system will improve couples’ ability to deal with divorce in a co-operative and constructive manner, which is certainly welcome, and couples now have the opportunity to apply jointly to the Court via the new online platform and to handle to process together.

“However, there are still a number of areas in which using a lawyer will be highly advisable, particularly where financial matters are concerned. Despite efforts to simplify the process, the way finances are dealt with during divorce remains complex. There is a long list of factors to take into consideration, as set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, Section 25.

“It is essential to get a good understanding of your financial rights and obligations as soon as possible. Entering into negotiations without first understanding what you might be entitled to, or required to provide, can create an unrealistic expectation on your spouse’s part that they could struggle to move on from, even if they then take professional advice at a later stage.

“It is also advisable to settle financial matters within the divorce process because once the final order is made, entitlements to certain financial benefits as a spouse will cease immediately. Furthermore, to have the financial settlement formally concluded it will need to be drawn up by a family solicitor in such a way to ensure the terms are approved by the Court and are formally binding on each spouse.”

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 came into force from 6 April 2022 and introduced wide-ranging reforms. Under the new system, the acrimonious conduct allegations, and need to evidence separation, have been replaced by a simple statement of irretrievable breakdown.

Furley Page’s large specialist Family Law team has wide-ranging experience in family law and divorce. With offices in Canterbury, Whitstable and Chatham, the firm offers a comprehensive range of family law services to clients all across the South East and further afield. The team are members of Resolution and also includes specialists in collaborative family law.

Should you wish to discuss your situation and what the changes in the law mean for you, please telephone 01227 763939 for assistance.