Charman v Charman: appeal court endorses calls for review of law

24 May 2007

The appeal court judges in the case of Charman v Charman are right to have drawn attention to the need to change the law in order to deal with the confusion surrounding financial settlements upon divorce, said Jane McCulloch, Chair of Resolution.

“Whilst the detail and size of this particular case is highly unusual, what it highlights is the lack of clarity around how a family’s finances should be sorted upon divorce.

“The uncertainty created by a number of high profile and sometimes contradictory judgments around financial settlements, has introduced a large degree of ambiguity into what divorcing couples can expect to pay and receive. There is much for divorcing couples to argue for,” said Ms McCulloch.

In its judgment on the case delivered this morning, the presiding judges included a Postscript in which they endorsed calls for reform of English matrimonial law, stating that: “Arguably the English statute, in its fundamental provisions fifteen years older, is in equal need of modernisation in the light of social and other changes as well as in the light of experience”.

“If the government is serious about encouraging individual families to sort their differences outside of the court room – they must urgently look at reforming current legislation in order to provide clarity on what individuals should pay or receive upon divorce,” said Jane McCulloch.