The General Election is looming and where does the family stand?
The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats do not differentiate between married or unmarried couples whereas the Conservatives offer financial incentives for the married couple and promote marriage and civil partnerships.
The Conservatives also seem to support the ideal of prenuptial agreements, after the shadow secretary Dominic Grieve promised to consider proposals for reform if they win the election.
While the Commission of European Law held its fourth conference recently, and in March the European Commission launched a directive with ten like minded states to try and provide some harmony to family law across the states, it is bitterly opposed by the UKIP who have a number of seats in the European parliament.
Baroness Deech has previously called for European-style contracts to be instituted rather than leaving it to the discretion of Judges as to how the matrimonial assets are divided up. More recently she called for an end to the ‘gold digger’ divorces where the settlement bears no resemblance to proportionality.
In some countries the idea of planning for failure is abhorrent, but in many countries the wider family are concerned to retain family money for the grandchildren rather than to waste vast amounts of money on legal costs in wrangles with in laws. The skills of collaborative lawyers could therefore prove invaluable to take the thorn out of pre-marital negotiations.
So what will the election bring? Will the new Government take all this on board and back new legislation to provide more certainty for couples or will we still be having this dialogue in five years time?
By family solicitor, Gillian Davies