In the aftermath of the vote whether to remain or leave the EU, and the result literally dividing the UK, one may ask what effect leaving the EU will have on family law.

Speaking following the EU referendum result, the Chair of Resolution, the organisation made up of family law professionals committed to resolving family disputes in a constructive way, Nigel Shepherd said:

“It’s too early to know the full implications for family law, but what is clear is that we are entering a period of great uncertainty. Like most areas of legislation, family law in the UK is currently intrinsically linked to that in other jurisdictions.

We won’t know yet what withdrawal from the EU will mean for measures like Brussels IIa, which provides for uniform jurisdictional rules for divorce proceedings; or maintenance arrangements, which are currently regulated throughout the European Union. It’s unlikely that the implications for family law will be a priority for the government, and it’s a distinct possibility that any currently planned or envisaged reforms to family law will be put on hold.

There are also wider issues not directly related to family law. Should a short-term impact on the financial markets turn into a longer-term economic issue then it will affect people’s personal finances – things like pensions, investments and house values. These will all need to be taken into consideration when dealing with financial matters upon divorce.

Resolution will continue our work with government and others to both influence the future of family justice, and provide our members with the support, information and resources they need in order to deal with the post-referendum landscape.”

Interesting times.  As the UK negotiates its exit from the EU, there will undoubtedly be a whole raft of legislation to replace those EU laws which will fall by the wayside, many of which have an impact on family disputes.