A Bill to make divorce quicker and easier in England and Wales was published by the Government in December 2019. A previous Bill was dropped because it ran out of parliamentary time ahead of the General Election in December 2019.
The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill would further liberalise our law, which already allows far too many divorces. The most recent figures available show that there were over 100,000 divorces in 2017.
Under the existing law, one of five ‘facts’ must be proven to show that a marriage has broken down irretrievably. These include matters of fault, like adultery. The five facts are set to be scrapped. Instead, the new system would allow someone to simply walk away from a marriage without having to give a reason and without their spouse being able to contest. This is often called ‘no-fault’ divorce.
Under the plans, there would be a minimum legal period of just six months between the application for divorce and it being finalised, greatly reducing the opportunity for reconciliation.
Divorce causes great damage to spouses, children and society. We already have it at epidemic levels. The Bill would make this worse and create enormous instability in marriage.
Institute Director Colin Hart has said: “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. Its approach to no-fault divorce is a marriage-wrecker’s charter.”