Banker Breakups May Help Spur U.K. Divorce Law Changes

Wealthy Britons going through a divorce may benefit from a review of U.K. court standards that some lawyers argue promote unfairly generous rulings in favor of less well-off spouses.

Bloomberg reports that an inquiry announced last week by the Law Commission, an advisory body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, is the first step toward reversing a trend that’s made Britain the 'divorce capital of the world', said Louise Spitz, an attorney with Manches LLP in London. The commission may submit a draft statute to Parliament next year.

A lack of judicial standards and the arbitrary nature of divorce cases stem from a 12-year-old court ruling, lawyers said. The commission’s review also comes six months after an appeals court ruling in the high-profile case of JPMorgan Chase& Co. (JPM) equity analyst Peter Lawrence. He won a decision cutting by 9% to $2.22m a payout to his civil partner of 11 years, former Priscilla Queen of the Desert star Donald Gallagher.'

English courts have the reputation of being very generous to the divorcing partner with less money, often with capital assets being divided equally and the wealthier spouse having to pay long-term maintenance', Spitz said. 'The system is very unpredictable and varies from one court to another'.

Divorce judges may have an easier time resolving cases if the law included a clear definition of 'needs' in relation to a spouse’s living requirements, the commission said in a September 11 statement.

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Banker Breakups May Help Spur U.K. Divorce Law Changes

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