Legal Aid: Government changes domestic violence evidence requirement / Prenups will be ignored unless couples are rich

Larissa Bell for Avadis & Co. Solicitors



Judges have warned that the majority of couples are likely to be wasting their time signing prenuptial agreements. In addition to this, only the wishes of the very wealthy are expected to be honoured; with courts being more likely to base their judgements on fairness. 

Over the last seven years the use of prenups has opened flood gates, and since the supreme court has ruled that it was ‘increasingly unrealistic’ for judges to not take account of them, their use has broadened from mere attempts by spouses to secure the possessions brought into marriage – to a variety of special purposes. 
These varieties of special purposes include; cutting the shares of an adulterous husband/wife (known as the ‘infidelity of penalty’ prenup); as well as the ‘parental’ prenup; where parents attempt to protect money given to a child to aid give them a kick start onto the property ladder. 

Moreover, meeting the needs of both parties within the context of a divorce is a key factor when cases are brought before the court, and only the wealthy – (those with more money than their ex-spouses) are expected to gain from signing a prenuptial agreement. 
Courts will often attempt to ensure that both parties live according to the lifestyle they were used to throughout the marriage. Although there is no legal interpretation of what the needs of a divorced husband or wife are; judges will always put the needs of any children first. 


Avadis & Co. Solicitors provides legal advice tailored to your specific needs. If it has been decided by you or a spouse that it is time to end your marriage, or if your spouse has started divorce proceedings; we have experienced divorce solicitors who can provide you with the cost efficient and sensitive advice you may need.

It can be difficult and painful to experience a breakdown in your marriage and often there is more than just the separation to deal with, as there are often the involvement of children and finances to consider.


Finding support in divorce: you are NOT alone.


Legal Aid: Government changes domestic violence evidence requirement.




After the court of appeal challenged the government’s changes to legal aid for victims of domestic violence, solicitors can now submit evidence older than 24 months; information confirmed by the Legal Aid Agency.


Prior to this change, the government had stated that for legal aid to be granted in family law cases, applicants must have provided evidence of domestic violence – evidence that must have been no older than two years. This previously meant that during court proceedings, if evidence became out of date (i.e. being older than two years) the legal aid certificate would be terminated and consequently, those affected by domestic violence would find themselves without legal advice and representation; often forcing these people to represent themselves in court.


This rule has now been amended, in The Queen (on the application of Rights of Women) v The Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for justice, the court held that regulation 33 of the Civil Legal Aid (procedure) Regulations 2012 was not valid considering that it requires that evidence of domestic violence be given within a twenty-four month period before considering any application for legal aid. This does not provide for victims of domestic violence who have suffered from financial abuse.


The Legal Aid Agency has stated that the minister of justice is ‘working on amended regulations’ and until then, where the required documentary evidence is older than twenty-four months; providers are capable of making an application for legal aid certificates in relation to civil legal services- providing that the evidence still reflect the form prescribed in regulation 33