InsightsInsight - Family and Divorce - POSTED: February 23 2017
What Brexit means for divorce
How could Brexit have an affect on separation and divorce in England and Wales?
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Many aspects of Britain’s exit of the European Union are yet to be determined.
Theresa May indicated back in October that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which triggers two years of formal negotiations, will be invoked before the end of March 2017. It now looks as though we are working towards this given the recent Parliament vote. The Government has agreed to release some details of its Brexit plans before invoking Article 50, but as yet it is unclear how much information will be provided.
The pound declined to a three year low against the Euro following Theresa May’s indication that Article 50 will be invoked by the end of March 2017. It fell again on 9 January 2017 when commentators interpreted Theresa May as suggesting that the UK will leave the single market, but regained some ground by the end of January.
So, how could all of this affect separation and divorce in England and Wales?
Couples separating their lives and money are likely to be most worried about the practical implications of Brexit at an individual level. The impact of financial and property market uncertainty on the value of assets is likely to be a key concern. The following questions may arise:
- How may employment and wages be affected?
- What are the implications for pensions and property prices?
- What will happen to property or assets held in Europe?
Some individuals are also likely to be specifically concerned about the value of the pound and how this may impact on the value of business assets or other business connections which rely on the free market.
As part of any divorce, a couple’s assets and income must be carefully analysed. It is imperative that any divorce settlement is fair, realistic and gives the necessary consideration to the future. The uncertain financial climate is likely to make such considerations more difficult.
If couples wish to deal with their financial separation more quickly in order to avoid further financial uncertainty over the next few years, they may wish to consider alternate forms of dispute resolution such as arbitration which can be quicker and more cost effective than the traditional court process.
The full implications of the decision to leave the EU will not be known for some time. What is clear however is the need for couples to seek both legal and financial advice when considering separation in order to minimise the risks and possibly benefit from any potential rewards of Brexit.
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