The number of divorces will rapidly increase if the Government’s plans for no-fault divorce become law, pro-marriage groups have warned.
Today, Justice Secretary David Gauke announced that the Government will introduce legislation “as soon as Parliamentary time allows”.
The Coalition for Marriage (C4M) described the change as a “cheaters’ charter”, while The Christian Institute said it was a sad fact that more couples would break up as a result.
Under the Government’s proposals a spouse who is being divorced against their will has no opportunity to contest or slow down the divorce proceedings to allow more time to seek reconciliation.
The official consultation on its proposals met with strong opposition, with 83 per cent of respondents disagreeing with plans to remove the right to contest the divorce.
If the plans become law, the whole process of divorce could last just six months.
In his statement, Mr Gauke derided the current law as “outdated” whilst claiming, “we will always uphold the institution of marriage”.
But Colin Hart, C4M’s Chairman, said the Government’s plans allow “cheating or bored spouses to walk away from a solemn, lifelong commitment whenever they choose and with the full support, and even encouragement, of the state”.
The proposal “could see a person divorced, have their access to their children restricted, their assets divided and themselves removed from their home by court order, all despite being faithful to their marriage vows”.
Mr Hart concluded: “No-fault divorce is incompatible with both the weight of evidence that shows marriage is the gold standard of relationships and needs support, and the Government’s obsession to appear to be ‘progressive’.
“There is nothing progressive about this cheaters’ charter.”
Simon Calvert, Deputy Director at The Christian Institute, said: “As has happened in every previous liberalisation of divorce law, the number of divorces will go up, as will the misery it causes to families.
“This will increase the insecurity that many people feel within their marriages, since it will mean that one partner can simply resign from the marriage, leaving the other partner little time or opportunity to rescue it.”