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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T V W Y

Brexit – implications for family law

Brexit – implications for family law
Monday 27th June 2016

Brexit – implications for family law

Given the financial and political turmoil the last thing on most people’s list of concerns is how Brexit will affect family law proceedings.  Most people’s concerns are more immediate; how will Brexit affect employment, the property market, pension incomes and the value of financial investments?

In time, people will learn that EU law has affected almost every area of our personal lives, including family law on divorce, child care arrangements and finances on separation. EU law determines where divorce court proceedings can be commenced and enforcement options.

Just as there will be political and financial uncertainties in the days and months to come, the implications of Brexit on family law are uncertain at present. 

The intricacies of EU law on UK divorces will in all probably not be a priority for most divorcing couples but rather their focus will be on the impact of financial and property market uncertainty on values of assets during their ongoing divorce and financial proceedings.

Brexit is likely to influence valuations placed upon properties, businesses, and pensions.  The rule in financial court proceedings is that assets are valued at the time of the court hearing to determine how the money and assets should be divided.  Accordingly some divorcing couples may regret settlements reached shortly prior to Brexit, leaving one spouse with cash and the other with property. Divorcing couples will ask if such orders can be appealed against as ‘unfair’. The general answer will be no as Brexit was a foreseeable event, in much the same way as the 2007 property crash was.

Couples in the midst of financial court proceedings may now be scrambling round for further valuations, depending upon the nature of their assets.  However, it is trite to say that only time will really tell with how valuations of properties, investments and pensions will pan out. Accordingly, from a courts perspective, the safest and most equitable option may be to share assets across classes so that both husband and wife take the rough with the smooth, if there is a smooth to be found following Brexit.

What is clear is that there is a need for separating couples to take professional independent financial and legal advice to ensure that they share the risks and any rewards flowing from Brexit.

 


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