House of Commons Library

Family justice reform

Published Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Westminster Hall debate on Family justice reform is scheduled for Wednesday 15 November 2017 at 2.30pm. The Member leading the debate is Suella Fernandes MP.

This is likely to be a wide-ranging debate on family justice reform.

The Member has said that the debate may cover the following issues: 

  • Shared parenting, for example a rebuttal presumption of shared parenting; 
  • Enforcement of Child Arrangement Orders; 
  • No-fault divorce; 
  • The enforceability of prenuptial agreements;  
  • Financial remedies and maintenance upon divorce; 
  • Rights for cohabiting couples; 
  • Opening up family courts.

The Member raised similar issues in a Private Member's Bill (under the Ten Minute Rule) on 28 March 2017: the Family Justice Bill 2016-17

Library briefing papers

Children: resident and contact court orders and related matters for parents, grandparents and others, Commons Library Briefing Paper SN03100, 3 November 2017

Debate on the impact of 'A manifesto to strengthen families', Lords Library Note 2017-0075, 27 October 2017

"No-fault divorce", Commons Library Briefing Paper SN01409, 17 October 2017

Pre-nuptial agreements, Commons Library Briefing Paper SN03752, 21 June 2017

"Common law marriage" and cohabitation, Commons Library Briefing Paper SN03372, 9 March 2017

Confidentiality and openness in the family courts: current rules and history of their reform, Commons Library Briefing Paper 7306, 18 September 2015

Children: enforcement of child arrangements orders relating to contact, Commons Library Briefing Paper SN03101, 2 June 2014

Parliamentary material

A manifesto to strengthen families, HL Deb 2 November 2017, c1511-43

Divorce legislation, HL Deb 29 March 2017 c597-9

Fathers in the family, HC Deb 1 March 2017 c135-52WH

Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill [HL], HL Deb 27 January 2017 c945-66

PQ 56062 [on modernisation of family courts], 5 December 2016

Further reading

Nuffield Foundation, Divorce law in England and Wales increases conflict and suffering for separated couples and their children, encourages dishonesty, and undermines the aims of the family justice system, 30 October 2017  

Liz Trinder and others, Finding fault? Divorce law and practice in England and Wales, Nuffield Foundation, 2017

Scotland

There is information on the Scottish Government website about Family Law in Scotland

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has published a briefing:

Parenting when parents live apart, SPICe Briefing 15/17, 31 March 2015

There are separate sections on the position in Scotland in the following Library Briefings:

"No-fault divorce", Commons Library Briefing Paper SN01409, 17 October 2017

Pre-nuptial agreements, Commons Library Briefing Paper SN03752, 21 June 2017

"Common law marriage" and cohabitation, Commons Library Briefing Paper SN03372, 9 March 2017 

 

Commons Debate packs CDP-2017-0223

Authors: Catherine Fairbairn; Tim Jarrett; Sarah Pepin

Topics: Civil partnerships, Cohabitation, Divorce, Family law, Marriage

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