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The Lord Chancellor: My Lords, before my noble friend withdraws her amendment, it might be useful for us to have some discussion of these matters. The time is not particularly long but there may be an opportunity for some discussion between now and Third Reading which might be of assistance.

Baroness Young: My Lords, I am extremely grateful to my noble and learned friend for that. I shall be more than happy to talk to him as, I am sure, will my noble friends. As he will know far better than I, this proposal is taken from Scottish legislation and I believe that it works well in Scotland. In seeking leave to withdraw the amendment, I thank my noble and learned friend for offering a talk on the matter.

Lord Meston: My Lords, before the noble Baroness sits down, she is obviously right that this is an important amendment. It raises important topics which rightly should not be discussed at this hour. However, if the result of any discussions between now and Third Reading is that further amendments could be brought forward, I wonder whether that could be done as soon as possible before Third Reading because I know that practitioners are particularly concerned about this amendment and how it, or any variant of it, might work in practice. I hope that if there are to be discussions the outcome is known to all concerned as soon as possible.

[Amendment No. 129AA not moved.]

[Amendment No. 129AB not moved.]

The Lord Chancellor moved Amendment No. 129B:


Page 45, line 37, leave out ("where an order is made under section 22A above,").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to this. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 3 [Stay of Proceedings]:

The Lord Chancellor moved Amendment No. 130:


Page 47, line 32, leave out ("to be treated as").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this amendment corrects an error in the definition of divorce proceedings in Schedule 3 to the Bill which deals with a stay of proceedings. The definition provides that divorce proceedings or marital proceedings are to be treated as divorce proceedings by virtue of this Bill. The Bill states that marital proceedings are divorce proceedings in certain circumstances and are not merely to be treated as such, and the definition in Schedule 3 therefore needs to be amended to reflect this. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

4 Mar 1996 : Column 140

Schedule 6 [Amendments of Children Act 1989]:

The Lord Chancellor moved Amendment No. 130A:


Page 57, line 51, at end insert--
("4A. In section 105(1) of the Children Act 1989 (interpretation), after the definition of "domestic premises", insert--
"dwelling-house" includes--
(a) any building or part of a building which is occupied as a dwelling;
(b) any caravan, house-boat or structure which is occupied as a dwelling;
and any yard, garden, garage or outhouse belonging to it and occupied with it;").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, I have spoken to this with Amendment No. 112B. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 8 [Minor and Consequential Amendments]:

The Lord Chancellor moved Amendment No. 131:


Page 62, line 34, after ("under") insert ("Part I of").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, in connection with this amendment I speak also to a number of later amendments. The effect of these amendments is to make some small drafting corrections to Schedule 8 in the light of our consideration following Committee stage. Amendment No. 131 is pure drafting. Perhaps I should speak to Amendment No. 132 separately.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Lord Chancellor moved Amendment No. 132:


Page 63, line 18, leave out ("months") and insert ("weeks").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, these amendments reduce the length of the statutory period between a decree nisi and decree absolute in nullity proceedings, and proceedings for presumption of death and dissolution of marriage from six months to six weeks. This brings the legislation into line with current practice as the period has actually been fixed at six weeks since 1972. The power of the High Court to reduce the period by order remains, as the noble Lord, Lord Meston, requested on the last occasion. I had rather inclined to take it away, but it is now left as the noble Lord requested. Amendments Nos. 132 and 133 are both designed to deal with this.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Lord Chancellor moved Amendments Nos. 133 to 143:


Page 63, line 50, leave out ("months") and insert ("weeks").
Page 64, line 26, after ("order") insert ("or an interim order for the payment of a lump sum").
Page 64, line 42, at end insert ("or an interim order for the payment of a lump sum)"").
Page 65, line 31, leave out ("and").
Page 65, line 33, at end insert ("and
( ) an application for a divorce order or a petition for a decree of nullity of marriage is outstanding or has been granted in relation to the marriage,".").

4 Mar 1996 : Column 141


Page 66, line 9, leave out ("sections 23A or 24 of a type of order") and insert ("section 23A of a kind").
Page 66, line 11, at end insert--
("( ) In subsection (4)--
(a) for the words from "for a settlement" to "24(1)(c) or (d)", substitute "referred to in subsection (2)(e)"; and
(b) for paragraphs (a) and (b) substitute "on an application for a divorce order in relation to the marriage";").
Page 66, line 11, at end insert--
("( ) After subsection (4) insert--
"(4A) No variation--
(a) of a financial provision order made under section 22A above, other than an interim order, or
(b) of a property adjustment order made under section 23A above,
shall be made so as to take effect before the making of a divorce order or separation order in relation to the marriage, unless the court is satisfied that that would be just and reasonable in all the circumstances of the case.".").
Page 66, line 13, after ("beginning,") insert (""Subject to subsections (7A) to (7F) below and").
Page 66, line 14, after ("(2)(d)") insert (",(dd)").
Page 66, line 19, at end insert ("and
( ) after "sufficient" insert "(in the light of any proposed exercise by the court, where the marriage has been dissolved, of its powers under subsection (7B) below)".
( ) After subsection (7), insert--
("(7A) Subsection (7B) below applies where, after the dissolution of a marriage, the court--
(a) discharges a periodical payments order or secured periodical payments order made in favour of a party to the marriage, or
(b) varies such an order so that payments under the order are required to be made or secured only for such further period as is determined by the court.
(7B) The court has power, in addition to any power it has apart from this subsection, to make supplemental provision consisting of any of--
(a) an order for the payment of a lump sum in favour of a party to the marriage;
(b) one or more property adjustment orders in favour of a party to the marriage;
(c) a direction that the party in whose favour the original order discharged or varied was made is not entitled to make any further application for--
(i) a periodical payments or secured periodical payments order, or
(ii) an extension of the period to which the original order is limited by any variation made by the court.
(7C) An order for the payment of a lump sum made under subsection (7B) above may--
(a) provide for the payment of that sum by instalments of such amount as may be specified in the order; and
(b) require the payment of the instalments to be secured to the satisfaction of the court.
(7D) Subsections (9) and (10) of section 22A above apply where the court makes an order for the payment of a lump sum under subsection (7B) above as they apply where it makes such an order under section 22A above.
(7E) If under subsection (7B) above the court makes more than one property adjustment order in favour of the same party to the marriage, each of those orders must fall within a different paragraph of section 21(2) above.

4 Mar 1996 : Column 142


(7F) Sections 24A and 30 above apply where the court makes a property adjustment order under subsection (7B) above as they apply where it makes such an order under section 23A above.").
Page 66, leave out lines 30 to 33.
Page 66, line 35, leave out ("subsection (5)") and insert ("subsections (6) and (7)").
Page 67, line 1, leave out ("In").
Page 67, line 2, leave out from ("children)") to ("subsection") in line 3 and insert ("is amended as follows.
(2) In").
Page 67, line 4, leave out from second ("order"") to ("subsection") in line 5 and insert--
("(3) In").
Page 67, line 7, at end insert--
("( ) After subsection (2) insert--
"(2A) In considering whether the circumstances are as mentioned in subsection (2)(a), the court shall have particular regard, on the evidence before it, to--
(a) the conduct of the parties in relation to the upbringing of the child;
(b) the general principle that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the welfare of the child will be best served by his having regular contact with those who have parental responsibility for him; and
(c) any risk to the child attributable to--
(i) where the person with whom the child will reside is living or proposes to live; or
(ii) any person with whom that person is living or with whom he proposes to live.").
Page 67, line 20, leave out (""education"") and insert (""maintenance assessment"").
Page 67, line 27, at end insert ("; and
(ii) in the case of a financial provision order or order for the payment of a lump sum, as including (except where the context otherwise requires) references to an interim order for the payment of a lump sum under section 22A above."").
Page 67, line 32, leave out ("the").
Page 69, line 17, leave out (""of the orders"") and insert (""any" where it first occurs").
Page 69, line 17, after ("substitute") insert (""one or more").
Page 69, line 18, leave out ("Matrimonial Causes Act 1973") and insert ("1973 Act").
Page 69, line 30, leave out ("Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1973") and insert ("1973 Act").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, I have already spoken to Amendment No. 133 with Amendment No. 132. I have spoken to Amendments Nos. 133 to 133K with Amendment No. 118. Amendment No. 133M was spoken to with Amendment No. 118. Amendment Nos. 134 to 137 have been spoken to with Amendment No. 88. Amendments Nos. 138 and 138A have already been spoken to with Amendments Nos. 131 and 118. Amendments Nos. 139 to 143 have been spoken to with Amendment No. 131. I beg to move Amendments Nos. 132 to 143 en bloc.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

12.30 a.m.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 143A:


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