Is current divorce law fit for purpose?

In a recent conference, the retiring family judge, Sir Paul Coleridge outlined his view that current divorce and financial provision laws were no longer fit for purpose. Sir Paul suggested that the existing Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 was ‘designed in a wholly different era to deal with a wholly different society and way of life.’

It should be noted that for many years, organisations such as Resolution have been campaigning for the introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce. This would avoid much of the antagonism that comes with a divorce based upon allegations of unreasonable behaviour or adultery. Pressure upon the government to reform divorce law is likely to continue but whether they will listen is another issue altogether.

In other comments, Sir Paul also highlighted that the days of expensive and prolonged court battles for family cases are now surely numbered. He promoted the use of alternative dispute resolution measures such as mediation and arbitration as a more sophisticated and cost-effective way to resolve cases.

probate

The Office of the Public Guardian being reduced from £130 to £110 as from 1st October.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (and older Enduring Powers of Attorney) are legal documents which allow a person to appoint someone they know and trust to make decisions about their financial affairs and/or health and welfare if they were to lose capacity to manage their own affairs in the future. The Office of the Public Guardian (“the OPG”) is the statutory body which is responsible for overseeing LPAs and EPAs. Before a LPA can be used it must be registered with the OPG.

An EPA must be registered with the OPG if the person who made it is becoming or has become mentally incapable of handling their own financial affairs. From 1st October 2013, the OPG has reduced its registration fee from £130 to £110 per document. Depending on your financial circumstances, registration fee exemptions or remission may still apply. For more information regarding LPAs, please contact a member of our Wills and Probate team on 01204 535261.