Divorce Law Reforms Set to Favour Women with No Income; Pressure Is Growing for an Equal Split of Assets to Reward Homemakers

By Womack, Stephen | The Mail on Sunday (London, England), June 17, 2001 | Go to article overview

Divorce Law Reforms Set to Favour Women with No Income; Pressure Is Growing for an Equal Split of Assets to Reward Homemakers


Womack, Stephen, The Mail on Sunday (London, England)


Byline: STEPHEN WOMACK

PRESSURE is growing for an overhaul of antiquated divorce laws.

Changes could lead to more generous settlements for non-earners, usually women. The likely outcome is that couples' assets will be split 50:50 on divorce.

Recent changes to the law in England and Wales have already made it easier to divide pension funds between divorcing partners.

Now demands are growing for more reform to make it crystal clear how other assets should be split between a husband and wife.

James Harcus, a senior partner in family law with London solicitor Withers, says: 'At the moment there is no set formula for calculating how much a wife or husband should get. The court has wide discretion and very wide powers in this area.

'I feel this discretion is too high a price to pay. The potential for dispute between husband and wife can give rise to huge legal costs. While the mega-rich might be able to afford a protracted legal fight, 95 per cent of the population cannot afford it. And the uncertainty around settlement makes divorces hugely stressful.'

Britain heads the divorce league in the European Union with a rate four times higher than Italy and three times that in France, Spain and Greece.

There were 158,700 divorces in Britain in 1999 compared with 301,000 weddings.

The growing campaign for reform has been fuelled by two recent court cases in which divorcing women successfully argued for a much greater share of their wealthy husbands' money.

Last month, Jacqueline Cowan, ex-wife of Michael Cowan, won a bigger share of the [pound]12 million fortune he made from originating the black plastic bin liner.

The Court of Appeal backed her claim for greater recognition in raising two children while he was building up a successful business.

The court awarded her more than [pound]1 million extra, raising her share to [pound]4.4 million, but it stopped short of a 50:50 split. The judges felt Cowan's business skills deserved the lion's share.

Last October, Pamela White won the backing of the Law Lords for a more generous settlement from former husband Martin. She received [pound]1.5 million, about 40 per cent of what was left after legal fees.

Previously, the courts based divorce settlements only on a wife's 'reasonable requirements'. This often left women with a tiny fraction of their husband's assets.

Solicitor Jackie Wells, a divorce specialist with Taylor Vintners in Cambridge, says: 'It was a bit of a lottery how the courts interpreted a woman's reasonable requirements. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Divorce Law Reforms Set to Favour Women with No Income; Pressure Is Growing for an Equal Split of Assets to Reward Homemakers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.