In June 2020 Westminster approved no-fault divorce in England and Wales.
The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill passed the House of Commons with MPs overwhelmingly rejecting even modest amendments to improve it.
This abolishes fault and separation as grounds for divorce, allowing spouses to complete the process in six months without having to give any reason. Anyone being divorced will be left with little time for reconciliation and no opportunity to contest the divorce.
Pro-marriage MPs put forward several amendments, including to extend the minimum period to one year and ensure that the spouse being divorced is informed promptly. The Government refused to accept any of them.
The Bill further liberalises the law in England and Wales, which already allows far too many divorces. The most recent figures available show that there were over 100,000 divorces in 2017.
Before this change, one of five ‘facts’ had to be proven to show that a marriage has broken down irretrievably. These included matters of fault, like adultery. The new system allows someone to simply walk away from a marriage without having to give a reason and without their spouse being able to contest. The new law is expected to come into force in Autumn 2021.
Divorce causes great damage to spouses, children and society. We already have it at epidemic levels. So-called ‘no-fault’ divorce will inevitably make this worse and create enormous instability in marriage.
Institute Director Colin Hart described the new law as a “marriage-wrecker’s charter”.
“We are already seeing a deeply worrying shift in young people’s attitudes, away from Christian marriage and lifelong commitment to your husband or wife. Forty-two percent of marriages already end in divorce but the Government is carrying on as if it wants it to be 100 per cent.”