Lawyer airs concerns over new divorce laws

Lawyer airs concerns over new divorce laws

Lawyer airs concerns over new divorce laws

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A YORK lawyer has voiced concerns over plans for new divorce laws which she fears will result in a "one size fits all" approach to family finances.

Nicola Goodman, family law specialist and partner at York-based solicitors Guest Walker & Co, is calling for more flexibility for judges to make decisions under their own discretion.

Her fears relate to the Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill, which is currently working its way through the House of Lords, and has been designed to define the role of the courts dealing with family finances during divorce.

Miss Goodman, who is part of a 17-strong team at Guest Walker & Co in the Shambles, said: "My main concern is to what extent the needs of children and how they are dealt with during the break-up will be considered.

"At present I worry that there seems to be little movement for Judges who may feel straight-jacketed in their role of family arbiter.

"The provision at the moment focuses on trying to direct the way Judges make their decisions. This is not an entirely bad thing.

"If the new Bill gets passed however, this focus will be more on the set guidelines given and less on judicial discretion, which could have adverse effects on modern families, who don’t necessarily fit into the neat criteria required to make this work.

"Not all families come with one house, a car and 2.4 kids. In the real world, there are families with step-children, separate accounts, assets mingled in from previous marriages or relationships, a less stable housing market and work insecurity.

"I would prefer a greater emphasis upon the needs of the children and greater concession to the more complex financial model for modern families."

While Miss Goodman praises the provision's recognition of pre and post nuptial agreements, she is also worried about the needs of a dependant spouse who will find that his or her maintenance is restricted to a set term of three years.

Miss Goodman said: "The possibility of long-term payments has often led to a clean-break, where the payer buys out that claim to get rid of ongoing commitment. Limiting the years for maintenance will therefore stem the flow of some clean break settlements.

"We will have to see how it all works out in practice and if the new Act will remain as fit for purpose for over 40 years as its predecessor did.

"I just hope that while the aim is to provide more clarity and certainty, the Bill does not replace our bespoke, made-to-measure system with an off-the-peg, one-size fits all substitute."

Comments (8)

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8:16am Wed 13 Aug 14

nearlyman says...

.....because lawyers love complicated or even less complicated divorces because it allows them to keep exchanging letters, giving difficult or no answers, whilst racking up their share of, more often than not, limited assets. Much better to have one judge judging and knocking some sense and realism to both sides of the divide......but oh how silly, that would be in both the financial and family interests of the parting couples and reduce lawyers income would it not ?
.....because lawyers love complicated or even less complicated divorces because it allows them to keep exchanging letters, giving difficult or no answers, whilst racking up their share of, more often than not, limited assets. Much better to have one judge judging and knocking some sense and realism to both sides of the divide......but oh how silly, that would be in both the financial and family interests of the parting couples and reduce lawyers income would it not ? nearlyman
  • Score: 27

9:12am Wed 13 Aug 14

julia brica says...

Most couples could easily get their affairs sorted and most do.
Until the solicitors get hold of it then things turn nasty and the costs start to rack up.
Nicola is simply trying to protect her interests or rather her bumper wage cheque.
Most couples could easily get their affairs sorted and most do. Until the solicitors get hold of it then things turn nasty and the costs start to rack up. Nicola is simply trying to protect her interests or rather her bumper wage cheque. julia brica
  • Score: 22

10:02am Wed 13 Aug 14

smudge2 says...

Miss Goodman, who is part of a 17-strong team at Guest Walker & Co in the Shambles, said: "My main concern is to what extent the needs of children and how they are dealt with during the break-up will be considered.......Yea
h right........your main concern is how much you can make for your company and yourself ....tell the truth..by the way nice free advert courtesy of the press .!!
Miss Goodman, who is part of a 17-strong team at Guest Walker & Co in the Shambles, said: "My main concern is to what extent the needs of children and how they are dealt with during the break-up will be considered.......Yea h right........your main concern is how much you can make for your company and yourself ....tell the truth..by the way nice free advert courtesy of the press .!! smudge2
  • Score: 18

4:23pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Meirion M says...

Miss Goodman is NOT a "lawyer"!
She is simply a solicitor, trying to feather her nest.
The term "lawyer" is an Americanism.
In England, there are solicitors and barristers (not to be confused with baristas
Miss Goodman is NOT a "lawyer"! She is simply a solicitor, trying to feather her nest. The term "lawyer" is an Americanism. In England, there are solicitors and barristers (not to be confused with baristas Meirion M
  • Score: 3

4:42pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Mr. Marcus says...

This solicitor, Ms Goodman, has nothing useful to say about the subject.
This solicitor, Ms Goodman, has nothing useful to say about the subject. Mr. Marcus
  • Score: 4

5:03pm Wed 13 Aug 14

smudge2 says...

Bet your company are glad to went to the Press Miss Goodman... ??
Bet your company are glad to went to the Press Miss Goodman... ?? smudge2
  • Score: 4

8:54am Thu 14 Aug 14

steaknchips says...

Family solicitors do not care about whats best for the children or wether any fair outcome is reached (if ever) all they care about is stringing out the whole process for as long as possible, this is from personal experience and the people I dealt with
Family solicitors do not care about whats best for the children or wether any fair outcome is reached (if ever) all they care about is stringing out the whole process for as long as possible, this is from personal experience and the people I dealt with steaknchips
  • Score: 3

11:42am Thu 14 Aug 14

Blythespirit says...

Can't believe the Press get suckered into printing this rubbish. Miss Goodman and her bunch of cronies will be rubbing their hands together with glee at the free advertising she just got them!
Can't believe the Press get suckered into printing this rubbish. Miss Goodman and her bunch of cronies will be rubbing their hands together with glee at the free advertising she just got them! Blythespirit
  • Score: 1

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