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Upcoming Oxford Law events




Professor Emma Hitchings, 'Fair Shares? Sorting out money and property on divorce'

Event time

11:30 - 13:00


Law Faculty - Seminar Room D


Professor Hitchings is a Professor of Family Law at the University of Bristol Law School. Her main research and teaching interests lie in the field of family law and family justice, in particular financial remedies on divorce. Professor Hitchings will be presenting her current work, leading the ‘Fair Shares on Divorce’ research project funded by the Nuffield Foundation. Professor Hitchings has provided the following overview: In England and Wales, the 100,000 couples divorcing annually do so within a legal system which confers wide powers and broad discretion on the courts to allocate money and property between them regardless of prior ownership. Until now, the evidence base on arrangements made within the formal legal context has been poor. For the two-thirds of divorcing couples not using the legal system to reach a financial settlement, the nature of any arrangements made is undocumented. For those using the legal system, most of the reported case law involves couples with significant wealth, far from typical of the divorcing population. The 'Fair Shares' research project, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, is the first nationally representative study in England and Wales of the financial and property arrangements that people make when they divorce. Using data collected from the project (including a survey from over 2,400 divorcees divorced in the past 5 years), this paper will provide an overview of some of the project's key findings, exploring how the current law regarding financial and property division on divorce works in practice for the entire divorcing population and provides recommendations to inform debate about what legal and procedural changes may be required.