This article considers the present law on matrimonial
property agreements and proceeds to consider the recommendations in Law Com No 343 (2014): 'Matrimonial Property, needs and agreements'. Following a glance at the immediate media, etc,
reaction, the proposals with regard to 'needs' are summarised, together with
the prompt decision by Government to require the Family Justice Council to act
on them. The intention here is to ‘remove regional variations’ and to help mediators ‘to give financial
advice to help separating couples settle disputes out of court’.
of the article is a review of the proposals for 'qualifying nuptial agreements'
which, if compliant with certain suggested conditions, would be guaranteed to
stick: contractual validity; deed; made at least 28 days before the wedding;
material disclosure; and legal advice. It is suggested that the 'weak link'
might be the 'disclosure' requirement.
recommendation that there be no statutory reform of the 'non-matrimonial
property' concept is analysed in the light of Commissioner Cooke's comment that
such would be 'unacceptably controversial, and the article concludes with a
discussion of the place of 'qualifying nuptial agreements' in attempting to
avoid the financial consequences of domestic partnership. The full version of this article appears in the August 2014 issue of Family Law.