Recommendations made to change the face of family law in England and Wales

The final report, published today (27 February 2014), seeks to promote clarity across the family justice system, made the following recommendations for reform.

  • Clarify, through the provision of guidance by the Family Justice Council, the law relating to ‘financial needs’.
  • Investigate the possibility of whether an aid to calculation of ‘financial needs’ could be devised. 
  • The report also includes a draft Nuptial Agreements Bill, which would introduce ‘qualifying nuptial agreements’ in England and Wales.

At the heart of the Commission’s report was a need to end the historical confusion and uncertainty about the extent to which a spouse should be required to meet the financial needs of their ex-partner. Historically, there has also been ambiguity as to how the courts have treated property that one party brought into the relationship or acquired by gift or inheritance during it after their formal relationship has come to an end. 

Prior to the report’s publication, there had been a great deal of speculation that the Commission may recommend that prenuptial agreements should be enforceable.

The topic of pre-nuptial, post-nuptial and separation agreements has continued to grow in importance since the judgment of the Supreme Court in Radmacher v Granatino [2010] UKSC 42.  

The full report can be found here.