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06/04/2017

Breaking Up after Brexit: It’s EU or Me

Brexit, dubbed the “world’s most complex divorce” by the Financial Times1, is having an effect on relationships beyond just that between the EU and the UK. 

Relate, a charity which offers relationship counselling services, reported an increase in couples who have consulted them following disagreement on which way to vote in the Referendum.2  Whilst Brexit was unlikely to be the root cause of many relationship problems, it appears that the outcome of the referendum has increased pressure on couples and made some realise just how many things they disagree on.

It seems likely that the effects of Brexit will place further strains on relationships in the future. Our Brexit survey (which can be downloaded here: http://www.howespercival.com/resources-and-events/news/howes-percivals-brexit-business-survey-identifies-uncertainty-and-inertia) showed that 50% of respondents are planning to make changes to their business in the next 6 – 24 months as a result of the referendum outcome.  With many businesses considering whether their long term future remains in the UK, couples may be divided over complex decisions of whether to relocate abroad.  

This pressure will be felt hardest by international couples, particularly where children are involved.  Data released by the Office for National Statistics shows that there are more than 100,000 official recorded couples in London where one British national is in a relationship with someone of another EU nationality.3  Whilst it is unlikely that EU nationals currently living here will lose their right to remain in the UK, returning back home may pose an attractive option for some, especially if there is a shift in employment opportunities in the UK.

The volatility of the pound is also having considerable implications for couples to reach settlement, particularly those with property or assets located abroad.  Calculating an accurate valuation of a pension fund, business shares or a property is more difficult than usual as a result.  It is important to ensure this is taken into consideration to prevent a settlement being unfair.

Despite the uncertainty on the horizon, we remain hopeful that Brexit won’t result in all bad news for Family Law.  Hannah Butcher, Solicitor in our Family Law Team, comments: “Brexit will provide an opportunity for the Government to consider some much needed reform of current law, such as no fault divorce, rights of unmarried couples and the status of marital agreements.”

If you would like any advice about the impact Brexit could have on your family or relationship, please contact a member of our Family Team who would be happy to discuss this with you.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f0c4f432-371d-11e6-9a05-82a9b15a8ee7.html#axzz4IFS9mF5k (£)
2 http://www.relatecambridge.org.uk/files/brexit%20press%20release%202016.pdf 
3 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/how-breaking-up-the-eu-could-break-up-couples-a7000156.html