Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Act 1970

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1970 c. 45


Matrimonial Proceedingsand Property Act 1970

1970 CHAPTER 45

An Act to make fresh provision for empowering the court in matrimonial proceedings to make orders ordering either spouse to make financial provision for, or transfer property to, the other spouse or a child of the family, orders for the variation of ante-nuptial and post-nuptial settlements, orders for the custody and education of children and orders varying, discharging or suspending orders made in such proceedings; to make other amendments of the law relating to matrimonial proceedings; to abolish the right to claim restitution of conjugal rights; to declare what interest in property is acquired by a spouse who contributes to its improvement; to make provision as to a spouse's rights of occupation under section 1 of the Matrimonial Homes Act 1967 in certain cases; to extend section 17 of the Married Women's Property Act 1882 and section 7 of the Matrimonial Causes (Property and Maintenance) Act 1958; to amend the law about the property of a person whose marriage is the subject of a decree of judicial separation dying intestate; to abolish the agency of necessity of a wife; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.

[29th May 1970]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Provisions with Respect to Ancillary and Other Relief in Matrimonial Causes and to Certain Other Matrimonial Proceedings

Part I

Other Matrimonial Proceedingsin Matrimonial Causes and to CertainProvisions with Respect to Ancillary and Other Relief

Maintenance pending suit in cases of divorce, etc.

Maintenance pending suit in cases of divorce, etc.

S-1 Maintenance pending suit in cases of divorce, etc.

1 Maintenance pending suit in cases of divorce, etc.

1. On a petition for divorce, nullity of marriage or judicial separation, the court may order either party to the marriage to make to the other such periodical payments for his or her maintenance and for such term, being a term beginning not earlier than the date of the presentation of the petition and ending with the date of the determination of the suit, as the court thinks reasonable.

Powers of court in cases of divorce, etc., to make orders with respect to financial provision for parties to the marriage and children of the family

Powers of court in cases of divorce, etc., to make orders with respect to financial provision for parties to the marriage and children of the family

S-2 Financial provision for party to a marriage in cases of divorce, etc.

2 Financial provision for party to a marriage in cases of divorce, etc.

(1) On granting a decree of divorce, a decree of nullity of marriage or a decree of judicial separation or at any time thereafter (whether, in the case of a decree of divorce or of nullity of marriage, before or after the decree is made absolute), the court may, subject to the provisions of section 24(1) of this Act, make any one or more of the following orders, that is to say—

(a ) an order that either party to the marriage shall make to the other such periodical payments and for such term as may be specified in the order;

(b ) an order that either party to the marriage shall secure to the other to the satisfaction of the court, such periodical payments and for such term as may be so specified;

(c ) an order that either party to the marriage shall pay to the other such lump sum or sums as may be so specified.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1)(c ) above, an order under this section that a party to a marriage shall pay a lump sum to the other party—

(a ) may be made for the purpose of enabling that other party to meet any liabilities or expenses reasonably incurred by him or her in maintaining himself or herself or any child of the family before making an application for an order under this section;

(b ) may provide for the payment of that sum by instalments of such amount as may be specified in the order and may require the payment of the instalments to be secured to the satisfaction of the court.

S-3 Financial provision for child of the family in cases of divorce, etc.

3 Financial provision for child of the family in cases of divorce, etc.

(1) Subject to the provisions of section 8 of this Act, in proceedings for divorce, nullity of marriage or judicial separation, the court may make any one or more of the orders mentioned in subsection (2) below—

(a ) before or on granting the decree of divorce, of nullity of marriage or of judicial separation, as the case may be, or at any time thereafter;

(b ) where any such proceedings are dismissed after the beginning of the trial, either forthwith or within a reasonable period after the dismissal.

(2) The orders referred to in subsection (1) above are—

(a ) an order that a party to the marriage shall make to such person as may be specified in the order for the benefit of a child of the family, or to such a child, such periodical payments and for such term as may be so specified;

(b ) an order that a party to the marriage shall secure to such person as may be so specified for the benefit of such a child, or to such a child, to the satisfaction of the court, such periodical payments and for such term as may be so specified;

(c ) an order that a party to the marriage shall pay to such person as may be so specified for the benefit of such a child, or to such a child, such lump sum as may be so specified.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2)(c ) above, an order under this section for the payment of a lump sum to any person for the benefit of a child of the family, or to such a child, may be made for the purpose of enabling any liabilities or expenses reasonably incurred by or for the benefit of that child before the making of an application for an order under this section to be met.

(4) An order under this section for the payment of a lump sum may provide for the payment of that sum by instalments of such amount as may be specified in the order and may require the payment of the instalments to be secured to the satisfaction of the court.

(5) While the court has power to make an order in any proceedings by virtue of subsection (1)(a ) above, it may exercise that power from time to time; and where the court makes an order by virtue of subsection (1)(b ) above in relation to a child it may from time to time make a further order under this section in relation to him.

S-4 Orders for transfer and settlement of property and for variation of settlements in cases of divorce, etc.

4 Orders for transfer and settlement of property and for variation of settlements in cases of divorce, etc.

4. On granting a decree of divorce, a decree of nullity of marriage or a decree of judicial separation, or at any time thereafter (whether, in the case of a decree of divorce or of nullity of marriage, before or after the decree is made absolute), the court may, subject to the provisions of sections 8 and 24(1) of this Act, make any one or more of the following orders, that is to say—

a ) an order that a party to the marriage shall transfer to the other party, to any child of the family or to such person as may be specified in the order for the benefit of such a child such property as may be so specified being property to which the first-mentioned party is entitled, either in possession or reversion
b ) an order that a settlement of such property as may be so specified, being property to which a party to the marriage is so entitled, be made to the satisfaction of the court for the benefit of the other party to the marriage and of the children of the family or either or any of them
c ) an order varying for the benefit of the parties to the marriage and of the children of the family or either or any of them any ante-nuptial or post-nuptial settlement (including such a settlement made by will or codicil) made on the parties to the marriage
d ) an order extinguishing or reducing the interest of either of the parties to the marriage under any such settlement;

and the court may make an order under paragraph (c ) above notwithstanding that there are no children of the family.

S-5 Matters to which court is to have regard in deciding what orders to make under ss. 2, 3 and 4.

5 Matters to which court is to have regard in deciding what orders to make under ss. 2, 3 and 4.

(1) It shall be the duty of the court in deciding whether to exercise its powers under section 2 or 4 of this Act in relation to a party to the marriage and, if so, in what manner, to have regard to all the circumstances of the case including the following matters, that is to say—

(a ) the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;

(b ) the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;

(c ) the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;

(d ) the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;

(e ) any...

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