Circumstances in Which Orders are Made

Clause 3 – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 17th June 1996.

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Photo of Mr Michael Morris Mr Michael Morris , Northampton South

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 20, 21 and 23.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Parliamentary Secretary (Lord Chancellor's Department), Assistant Whip (Law Officers)

At present, under clause 4, if a court is considering an application for a divorce order and a separation order, it will proceed as if it were considering only the divorce application, except in certain circumstances.

Amendment No. 19 extends those circumstances to include a situation where the period for reflection and consideration in the case of the divorce order has been extended by six months. Under the terms of the amendment, a court would be able to proceed with the separation order in those circumstances. That would also permit a financial provision or property adjustment order to take effect where it could not otherwise do so because there were no exceptional circumstances and it would not have been just and reasonable for it to take effect earlier.

Amendment Nos. 20, 21 and 23 bring the time periods of clause 4 in line with clause 7, which was amended in Committee to provide for a six-month extension to the period for reflection and consideration, in certain circumstances. It ensures that parties cannot circumvent the six-month extension by obtaining a separation order after 12 months and immediately applying to convert it into a divorce order.

Amendment agreed to.