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HK set to amend matrimonial bill

06-18-2010 08:56 BJT

HONG KONG, June 17 (Xinhua) -- An amendment bill, which empowers Hong Kong courts to deal with ancillary relief matters in recognition of an overseas divorce decree, will be gazetted on Friday, the city's government said Thursday in a statement.

The Matrimonial Proceedings and Property (Amendment) Bill 2010 empowers the high and district courts to order financial relief for a former spouse whose marriage has been dissolved or annulled, or who has been legally separated, in judicial or other proceedings outside Hong Kong, it said.

Under the existing law, a party who has obtained a divorce decree in a jurisdiction outside Hong Kong cannot apply for financial relief from Hong Kong courts. This can cause hardship to a party where no or insufficient financial provisions have been made under the overseas order.

The bill provides that a party can apply for an order of financial relief if the marriage has been terminated by a court outside Hong Kong unless the party has remarried.

The bill also requires the leave of the court be obtained before a party applies for financial relief. The jurisdictional basis for the court to consider an application is similar to its jurisdiction in divorce proceedings in Hong Kong.

While the court is empowered by the bill to make orders for financial provision and property adjustment after leave to apply has been given, the court has to be satisfied it is appropriate to make such an order.

The bill also contains anti-avoidance provisions to deal with dispositions and transactions that are intended to defeat or prevent applications for financial relief or which reduce such a relief, or in any way interfere with the enforcement of orders for relief.

The bill will be tabled at the city's Legislative Council for first reading and commencement of second reading debate on June 30.


Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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