Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke announced today that he wants to scrap legal aid for divorce with ministers warning that couples should take out insurance on their marriages.
Currently those who have less than £8,000 in accessible cash are eligible for legal aid for their divorce case and those with less than £3,000 are entitled to have their full legal bill paid.
The move could result in a whole new niche insurance market with thousands of husbands and wives taking out policies to protect against the cost of divorce.
Jonathan Djanogly, one of Mr Clarke’s ministerial team commented: “Couples are too ready and too willing to run to the courts. We think there can be a wider market in before-the-event insurance. We would be creating a new market, but we want to see a market.”
The plans outlined in the consultation paper do, however, still allow for legal aid in cases where domestic violence is alleged, where a child has been abducted or where there is a question of forced marriage.
So what will be the result of the Justice Secretary’s plans? Well, less for the Government to pay out in legal aid for starters but there’s a chance, I suppose, that it may end up resulting in a fall in the divorce rate as more couples choose to try and make their marriages work.
Currently around one in three marriages end in divorce.
Divorce insurance has been available in the USA for a number of years and according to today’s article in the Daily Mail, one insurer has now launched a site in the UK.
The Daily Mail article suggests policies are available from Divorce Cover Ltd for a one-off premium of around £750 or with monthly policies from around £10 a month. However, on closer inspection of the Divorce Cover website we can see that much of the content is currently just copied from the US based Wedlock Divorce Insurance site so don’t think the Mail’s figures are true ones. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the Divorce Cover site over the coming months and will update this post when real premiums are available.
What do you think?
Do you think divorce insurance is a good idea? Do you think it could really damage trust within a couple?
Financially protecting your actual wedding with wedding insurance is one thing, but is divorce insurance just a step too far?
We’d love to hear your comments.
Source: Daily Mail
Update: Today’s article in the Telegraph claims that in the last 12 months, 89,000 people have claimed legal aid for divorce cases at a cost to the tax payer of £25 million.