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Southern courts favour wives in divorce settlements

Date:2 SEP 2009

Wives in the South of Britain are more likely to be awarded favourable divorce settlements, according to research, leading to lawyers using "divorce maps" to secure clients better deals.

Divorcing British couples should 'shop around' to find local courts most likely to award them a favourable settlement, according to Manchester-based firm Pannone.

The choice of where separations are made legal could be influenced by significant variations in the way courts in different parts of Britain deal with divorces. Analysis of more than 1,500 cases handled by Pannone in the last two years showed the differences were due to judges' interpretations of divorce law.

The firm's research concluded that many lawyers believed recent settlements were more in favour of wives than previous years, with courts in the South more likely to be generous towards them than their former husbands.

Matrimonial partner Andrew Newbury said the variations were largely seen in County Courts, which handle the vast majority of British divorces.

"Judges are allowed to apply their interpretation of the law to the cases they hear and they are of course influenced by how a case is presented to them. However, there is no doubt that British spouses are starting to shop around to find a court they think is most likely to agree with their point of view", he commented.

Pannone's findings were based on divorce cases handled across Britain since 2007 by its lawyers.