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    B876 - Divorce Bill 2015 (Second Reading), TSR Conservative and Unionist Party
    A

    B I L L

    TO


    Correct inequalities within current UK divorce proceedings and strengthen the institution of marriage.

    BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

    1 Limit on appeal
    (1) Both parties involved have a period of only 6 years in which to appeal against the settlement either agreed or granted through the courts.
    (2) Retrospective settlement claims are hereby prohibited.

    2 Prenuptial agreements
    (1) Prenuptial agreements agreed to by both parties before marriage are to be viewed by the courts as legally binding.
    (2) An exception to the above will only be granted if said prenuptial agreement makes no provision for children aged under 16 accrued from the spouses through genetic progeny or adoption or leaves one party with assets to the value of £0.
    (3) Where prenuptial agreements have been made concerning the distribution of wealth upon divorce, the court should rule on the basis of that agreement, ignoring the fault provisions outlined in section 3.

    3 Fault
    (1) In cases where fault has been assigned by the court on the grounds of adultery or desertion as defined by sections 1.2A and 1.2C of Part 1 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 then financial settlements for the offending party will be reduced by a minimum of 10% to reflect the assigned fault
    (2) In cases where both parties have committed adulatory, fault does not apply.
    (3) If the divorce is the result of an abusive relationship, the court may reduce settlements for the offending party at its discretion to reflect the assigned fault and may also refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service if necessary.

    4 Maintenance
    (1) Upon divorce and excepting legally binding agreements already made, neither party is to be granted a maintenance order relating to their own standard of living.
    (2) Maintenance orders will only be granted with regards to the upkeep of children aged under 16 accrued from the spouses through genetic progeny or adoption.

    5 Fees
    The divorce charge will rise by a minimum of 2% per year and will be set at a level no lower than the break even point taking into account both the total and variable costs of administering the divorce

    6 Same sex marriage
    The provisions in this Act extend to all hetero- and homosexual marriages and civil partnerships as defined by the Marriage Act 1949, Civil Partnership Act 2004 and Marriage (same sex couples) Act 2013.

    7 Commencement, extent and short title
    (1) This Act may be cited as the Divorce Act 2015.
    (2) This Act extends to England only.
    (3) This Act comes into force on 1 January 2016 following Royal assent.

    Notes
    Spoiler:
    Show
    Limit on appeal
    Current UK law allows parties to make financial claims long after the divorce has occurred (as highlighted in this article). This provision allows for a clearly defined period in which to retrospectively claim or appeal.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...shire-31832392

    Prenuptial agreements
    Current UK law does not hold that prenuptial agreements are legally binding reducing the potential security they can provide in the UK. The provision in this act acknowledges that individuals should be able to enter a contractual agreement before marriage spelling out the risks and rewards for both parties and therefore makes these agreements legally binding except in cases where they are clearly being abused.

    Fault
    Current UK law only takes fault into account when considering financial settlements in exceptional circumstances. This provision ensures that settlements in which one party is clearly at fault reflect this assigned fault.

    Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1973/18

    Maintenance
    Current UK law enables one party to claim for costs relating to the maintenance of their accustomed standard of living even after the divorce has accrued (this is known as alimony in the US) through maintenance orders. This act removes this unfair penalisation and clearly defines that the financial responsibility post-divorce extends only to the children and not to either party.

    Same Sex marriage
    The provisions in this act extend to all marriage and civil partnerships.

    Marriage Act 1949
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...14/76/contents

    Civil Partnership Act 2004
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/33

    Marriage (same sex couples) Act 2013
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...ntents/enacted

    Fees
    Current divorce charges are set annually by central government (£410 for 2015).
    Changes for second reading
    Spoiler:
    Show

    Limit on appeal - No amendments
    Prenuptial agreements - 2.2 amended
    Fault - 3.1 and 3.3 amended
    Maintenance - 4.2 amended
    Fees - 5.1 amended, 5.2 abolished
    Same sex marriage - Inclusion of 6.1
    Commencement, extent and short title - Changed to section 7
    Notes - Amended
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    No, the bill needs to apply to the UK, not England; I want the bill to apply to the UK to make it fair for all married couples.
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    Aye. A glorious bill.
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    Is this a devolved issue for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland? If not, why does it only extend to England?

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    (Original post by Nigel Farage MEP)
    No, the bill needs to apply to the UK, not England; I want to bill to apply to all home countries to make it fair for all married couples.
    Marriage is devolved I believe. The Scots had gay marriage before we did.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Marriage is devolved I believe. The Scots had gay marriage before we did.
    I would support implementing a UK-wide law to supersede devolution but I can only find marriage as a devolved issue Scotland and Northern Ireland.
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    I can't support this on the ground of s4. However, there are a few suggestions I'd make nevertheless:

    1) Amend s2(2) to allow for a more purposive construction (I suggest 'minimal' assets) - precise numeric values ought to be avoided on the ground that they allow for very literal interpretations (for instance, a pre-nup that allocates £1 in assets to one of the parties).
    2) I think that requirements of witnesses to a pre-nup should be included, as it's a situation where emotional duress can be extreme and thus the principle of freedom of contract not complied with.
    3) The correct way of referring to the MCA provisions is e.g. s1(2)(a).
    4) It's still 'adultery', not 'adulatory'.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Marriage is devolved I believe. The Scots had gay marriage before we did.
    I don't imagine it is to Wales.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Marriage is devolved I believe. The Scots had gay marriage before we did.
    It was actually after we did, but doesn't matter much here. Still illegal in NI so must be devolved there too - but I don't think it's devolved in Wales.
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    (Original post by Saoirse:3)
    It was actually after we did, but doesn't matter much here. Still illegal in NI so must be devolved there too - but I don't think it's devolved in Wales.
    I thought it passed a referendum recently, or am I thinking of something else?
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    I thought it passed a referendum recently, or am I thinking of something else?
    Republic of Ireland. Unfortunately up north it's being blocked by the Damned Unionist Pisstakers or whatever it is DUP must stand for
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    Nay. The bill needs to apply to the UK.
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    (Original post by Saoirse:3)
    Republic of Ireland. Unfortunately up north it's being blocked by the Damned Unionist Pisstakers or whatever it is DUP must stand for
    +1

    They should change it to LAD - Loyalists Against Democracy
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    Nay - I don't want to.

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    Looks better

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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    Is this a devolved issue for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland? If not, why does it only extend to England?

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    Technically problematic since gay marriage is still illegal in NI.

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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    I thought it passed a referendum recently, or am I thinking of something else?
    Stormont has a mechanism called the Petition of Concern, allowing individual sects to block a bill if they feel it discriminates against them. Regardless of the overall result of the vote (minor YES for gay marriage)

    Designed to protect against genuine discrimination, it is being abused by the DUP to vote down bills it doesn't like but would lose out on.

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    (Original post by That Bearded Man)
    Technically problematic since gay marriage is still illegal in NI.

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    Not really, the bill does not enforce the legalisation of gay marriage, merely legislates for homosexual divorces.
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    (Original post by Birchington)
    strengthen the institution of marriage.
    My knowledge of this matter isn't great, so this is not a criticism, but how does a time-limit on the creation of an appeal strengthen the institution of marriage? I suppose it is not meant in the commonest way I've seen it, which is the validity and phenomenon of marriage in a cultural context, like a religious, or traditional one.

    1 Limit on appeal
    (1) Both parties involved have a period of only 6 years in which to appeal against the settlement either agreed or granted through the courts.
    (2) Retrospective settlement claims are hereby prohibited.

    2 Prenuptial agreements
    (1) Prenuptial agreements agreed to by both parties before marriage are to be viewed by the courts as legally binding.
    (2) An exception to the above will only be granted if said prenuptial agreement makes no provision for children aged under 16 accrued from the spouses through genetic progeny or adoption or leaves one party with assets to the value of £0.
    (3) Where prenuptial agreements have been made concerning the distribution of wealth upon divorce, the court should rule on the basis of that agreement, ignoring the fault provisions outlined in section 3.
    Can you give an example to what a prenuptial agreement might be? (I know prenuptial means before marriage but I find it hard to apply it, or give good examples to it.)(It'd kinda help with applying the "an exception if no provision for children under 16..." part, sorry.)

    3 Fault
    (1) In cases where fault has been assigned by the court on the grounds of adultery or desertion as defined by sections 1.2A and 1.2C of Part 1 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 then financial settlements for the offending party will be reduced by a minimum of 10% to reflect the assigned fault
    Should there be a maximum % financial settlements can be reduced by for adultery or desertion?

    (2) In cases where both parties have committed adulatory, fault does not apply.
    (3) If the divorce is the result of an abusive relationship, the court may reduce settlements for the offending party at its discretion to reflect the assigned fault and may also refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service if necessary.
    4 Maintenance
    (1) Upon divorce and excepting legally binding agreements already made, neither party is to be granted a maintenance order relating to their own standard of living.
    Curious, currently, is there at all sexism where maintenance orders are due? (I'm not asking for studies though, so I'll take what it said as a large pinch of salt. It just seems like one of those things sexism is likely to happen in. )

    (2) Maintenance orders will only be granted with regards to the upkeep of children aged under 16 accrued from the spouses through genetic progeny or adoption.
    16 (personally) seems too low; perhaps it should be risen to "under 18s" (so inc. 16 and 17 years old.)
    genetic not necessary there; progeny kind of includes that in its definition.

    5 Fees
    The divorce charge will rise by a minimum of 2% per year and will be set at a level no lower than the break even point taking into account both the total and variable costs of administering the divorce
    (Sorry, I have never really delved into this topic, but) do you mean every successful year in a marriage increases the price for a divorce? Is there a maximum % the divorce charge can rise by in a year, as well? I say maximum % because it seems a bit vague, and open for exploitation.

    6 Same sex marriage
    The provisions in this Act extend to all hetero- and homosexual marriages and civil partnerships as defined by the Marriage Act 1949, Civil Partnership Act 2004 and Marriage (same sex couples) Act 2013.
    Semantics.
    "opposite-sex" and "same-sex" marriages, otherwise it implies a specific sexual orientation for the constituents for the marriage.
    (Which reminds me, a proposal should be made for the dissolution of civil partnerships. I might do that one myself.)

    Also "same-sex couples", the added dash, a(n albeit declining) British thing.

    7 Commencement, extent and short title
    (1) This Act may be cited as the Divorce Act 2015.
    (2) This Act extends to England only.
    (3) This Act comes into force on 1 January 2016 following Royal assent.
    May I ask why it only extends to England? Is it just that you believe Wales should come to this decision itself or something? (Just seems an uncommon thing to do.)

    May I also ask why this requires royal assent? (Or is it just the proceeding of things?)

    Spoiler:
    Show
    Limit on appeal
    Current UK law allows parties to make financial claims long after the divorce has occurred (as highlighted in this article). This provision allows for a clearly defined period in which to retrospectively claim or appeal.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...shire-31832392
    Prenuptial agreements
    Current UK law does not hold that prenuptial agreements are legally binding reducing the potential security they can provide in the UK. The provision in this act acknowledges that individuals should be able to enter a contractual agreement before marriage spelling out the risks and rewards for both parties and therefore makes these agreements legally binding except in cases where they are clearly being abused.
    Are prenuptial agreements common?

    Fault
    Current UK law only takes fault into account when considering financial settlements in exceptional circumstances. This provision ensures that settlements in which one party is clearly at fault reflect this assigned fault.

    Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1973/18

    Maintenance
    Current UK law enables one party to claim for costs relating to the maintenance of their accustomed standard of living even after the divorce has accrued (this is known as alimony in the US) through maintenance orders. This act removes this unfair penalisation and clearly defines that the financial responsibility post-divorce extends only to the children and not to either party.

    Same Sex marriage
    The provisions in this act extend to all marriage and civil partnerships.

    Marriage Act 1949
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...14/76/contents

    Civil Partnership Act 2004
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/33

    Marriage (same sex couples) Act 2013
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...ntents/enacted

    Fees
    Current divorce charges are set annually by central government (£410 for 2015).

    Changes for second reading
    Spoiler:
    Show

    Limit on appeal - No amendments
    Prenuptial agreements - 2.2 amended
    Fault - 3.1 and 3.3 amended
    Maintenance - 4.2 amended
    Fees - 5.1 amended, 5.2 abolished
    Same sex marriage - Inclusion of 6.1
    Commencement, extent and short title - Changed to section 7
    Notes - Amended
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    Not really, the bill does not enforce the legalisation of gay marriage, merely legislates for homosexual divorces.
    I just mean in part 6.

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