Online divorce pilot leads to calls for weaker marriage law

Couples will be able to file for divorce online this year, if a controversial new project goes ahead.

Government ministers are drafting a pilot scheme which will allow divorce proceedings to be initiated over the internet for the first time, in order to save time and paperwork.

The move was instantly seized upon by family lawyers, who would like the Government to allow no-fault divorce.

No fault divorce

Nigel Shepherd, a family partner at law firm Mills & Reeve, claimed a change to the law to remove fault in divorce is crucial.

And Jo Edwards, head of family at Forsters in Mayfair, said requiring fault in divorce is “over-complicating the whole process”.

“It is time to allow couples to divorce in a more dignified fashion”, she said.

‘Weakening marriage’

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director for Public Affairs at The Christian Institute, responded: “This pilot scheme, a terrible idea itself, has been seized upon by those intent on introducing ‘no-fault’ divorce.

“But marriage is by far the most stable form of relationship for raising children.

“Rather than attacking it, lawyers who often see at first hand the hurt and damage done by family breakdown should be arguing for schemes that back this great institution, such as compulsory marriage counselling and financial support for married couples”.

Family breakdown

Last month, more than a hundred lawyers marched on Parliament calling for the Government to weaken the law on divorce. Family lawyer group Resolution led the action.

The Christian Institute has warned that liberalising the law further would undermine marriage and lead to more family breakdown.

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