No-fault divorce backed by MPs in first debate

Westminster gave its initial support yesterday to a Bill which will make it much easier to get divorced.

Politicians backed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill without a vote, and it will now go to committee stage for scrutiny.

MPs Fiona Bruce and Jim Shannon were among those to warn of the damage the legislation is expected to cause to families and society.

Six months

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 less than six months.

Divorce on demand

Fiona Bruce, the Conservative MP for Congleton, warned that the Government was pushing “divorce on demand” and ignoring its own consultation.

Concerned that the Bill inhibited the prospect of reconciliation, she said, “when couples do stay together and weather the inevitable storms of marriage, the stability that that engenders benefits not just the parties, but their children”.

The DUP’s Jim Shannon warned that the legislation promotes marriages that prioritise “individual freedom and liberty” rather than “self-giving, sacrifice and commitment”.

    Some 42,000 divorces are on the basis of at least two years’ separation, before proceedings can even start. The Bill scraps separation, and divorce will be possible within six months.

Misgivings

Justice Secretary David Gauke dismissed calls for increased marriage support, claiming it would be too late once divorce proceedings have begun.

Labour gave its support to no-fault divorce, saying it had backed the idea in its 2017 General Election manifesto.

Responding for The Christian Institute, Director Colin Hart described the legislation as “the most anti-family legislation since the introduction of same-sex marriage”.

“The Minister, Paul Maynard claimed the Bill would not make divorce more common, quicker or easier. This lacks any credibility”, he added.

Ominous

Mr Hart added: “No consideration has been given to helping those whose marriages are in difficulty. No consideration has been given to the injustice inflicted on a faithful husband or wife by their partner’s adultery or desertion.

“The Government’s whole approach is simply to make it quicker and easier to end your marriage than your mobile phone contract. Its trials to reduce the time to twelve weeks or less are ominous.”

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