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Reconciling fairness in ancillary relief applications has been, and continues to be, one of the most difficult problems facing courts and judges in England and Wales when deciding divorce cases. The highly discretion-based ancillary financial relief system proposed by the English legal system1; the difficulty of fairly balancing easily quantifiable financial contributions to family life against non-financial ones such as homemaking and childcare2; complexity of property valuation and adjustment issues in divorce cases not to mention the changing dynamics of marriage relationships3 have made fair redistribution of financial assets on divorce a daunting task to judges, while the legal advisers …
Given the fact that a 'fair outcome' in a claim proceeding is influenced by the legislative coverage, the court's approach in interpreting the provisions and the complexity rules and procedures, the review of legal developments shall essentially consider the major changes to the legislation, the major developments in case law as well as the changes to the rules and procedures towards achieving a fair outcome for the parties.
Ancillary relief - the apportioning of financial assets and income of the parties to the marriage- remains one of the major issues to be resolved on divorce. The basic law and judicial considerations for ancillary relief are contained in Part II of the Matrimonial Causes Act (MCA) 1973, amended by the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 imposing a 'clean break' obligation on the courts. Statutory improvements have been impacted the provisions, a review of which shall be endeavoured.
The 1973 Act provided courts with the power awar ...
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