Brexit and the impact on family law


24 June 2016

While family law may not seem to many to be the main area of concern in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit decision, English family law may face a number of challenges arising out of the decision, and the subsequent negotiations.

While family law may not seem to many to be the main area of concern in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit decision, English family law may face a number of challenges arising out of the decision, and the subsequent negotiations.

Almost certainly any momentum to bring forward ‘No Fault’ divorce in this country will diminish. Attention will be elsewhere, and parliamentary time at a premium. 

Family law, as with other areas, is now intimately linked to European law. Attempts to provide a uniformity of jurisdiction between multi-national couples who come from, or are based, in different legal jurisdictions across Europe are governed by what is known as “Brussels II a”. Maintenance agreements between such couples are regulated under this regime. It is simply too early to know how or if this will be unpacked. What that means, as always, is uncertainty and a lack of clarity. Where that exists, it is hard to provide clear advice.

For those couples currently going through divorce the uncertainty in the markets will impact all areas of their financial lives. Personal pension values may well drop and it could take time for them to recover. Some of the claims made during the campaigns would suggest that there will be greater job insecurity; house prices may suffer in the short and the longer term. For those whose personal life is not in a period of change, riding out the storm (if there is one) is always possible. For those going through divorce or other family change, there will be a further area of uncertainty and change which will make it more difficult, and possibly a longer process, before agreements and solutions can be found. 

Our family lawyers at Birketts will be pleased to work with you as the full implications of this historic decision by the UK become clear, if you are already separating or divorcing, to make sure that you are protected, as far as possible, and able to approach changes to your life and life style with as much confidence as possible. 

The content of this article is for general information only. Law covered as at June 2016.