Divorce and Brexit

Family Law and Brexit – What could it all mean?

The British public have spoken and they have made the decision to leave the EU but the ramifications of that decision is still yet unknown but how will it affect family law?

A recent report stated how important the EU laws are on UK family laws but this is all likely to change now the UK is leaving the EU. The courts are already handling a high volume of cases and the departure could make it difficult for the courts to cope even further. Legal aid has been reduced and the courts are going through structural changes which mean that problems could lie ahead.

Many aspects of family law would be affected by the decision. The divorce process is the same throughout the EU and it has been a success but a new UK law would have to be put in place. Suggestions have been made that the new law should be similar to the EU law.

The EU also regulates maintenance proceedings and international child law would also be affected. However, there could be a benefit to the UK leave the EU when it comes to marital agreements because the EU has imposed marital agreements without seeking independent legal advice which has often cause confusion. Therefore, the decision to leave could result in proposals that were put forward in 2014 being implemented and this would lead to England and Wales supporting the importance of seeking independent legal advice as a method of dealing with other issues.

While future implications of leaving the EU are unknown, Resolution has stated that there is no doubt that the future is looking uncertain. Just in the same way as other areas of legislation, family law in the UK is naturally linked to that in other jurisdictions.

The uniformed jurisdictional rules put forward by Brussels for divorce proceedings and maintenance agreements are likely to change but how it will change is still unknown. Any changes to family law are likely to be postponed as the government is unlikely to make it a priority of theirs.

The financial markets have taken a short term hit since the decision was made but if this becomes a more prolonged issue then this will cause problems for family finance. When it comes to divorce and financial problems, all of this will have to be taken into account.

Regardless of the outcome, Resolution has made it clear that they will co-operate with the government as well as others to help guide family justice as well as offer the support required by members. They will also offer relevant information as well as resources in order to help them handle the way in which things map out following the referendum.

Obviously, the impact of Brexit is unknown but the UK could take up to two years to leave the EU. Therefore, it could be important for the UK government to reflect on the result and how it can achieve the result.

Author Bio: Kerry Smith is the Head of Family Law at  K J Smith Solicitors who are specialists in family law, experienced in all matters relating to divorce, civil partnerships, cohabitation disputes and collaborative law.