The Government’s ‘no fault’ divorce law, which would allow a person to divorce their spouse without having to give a reason, has been delayed until next year.
Currently, divorcing couples in England and Wales must prove the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage. But last year, Parliament passed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, removing this need and allowing divorce in just six months.
The law was set to come into force this autumn, but the coronavirus pandemic and technical issues relating to moving the system online have caused delays. It is now expected to come into force on 6 April 2022.
The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly said: “Delaying this marriage-wreckers’ charter offers a brief respite, but in the end quicker, easier divorce will lead to more broken families.
“It has always been plain to see that the damage is largely done not by the process of divorce, but by the act itself.
the damage is largely done not by the process of divorce, but by the act itself
“Overwhelmingly, children fare best when they live with their married mother and father. Marriage breakdown hurts the children, hurts the parents, and society as a whole. We need to promote marriage, not accelerate its end.”
When the proposals were debated in Parliament, several pro-marriage MPs gave speeches opposing the Bill, including Fiona Bruce, who pointed out that in the Government’s own consultation, 80% opposed the proposals.
80% of respondents to the Government’s consultation opposed no fault divorce
She said: “Making divorce easier and quicker will inevitably change the nature of the commitment that is made when marrying, because those doing so will recognise that it is something that can be exited easily and quickly, without having to prove that the relationship has broken down.
“No longer ’till death us do part’, but ‘until I give you six months’ notice to quit, with no reason given’.”
Sir Christopher Chope said: “Many marriage breakdowns are temporary and not irretrievable. That is why the issue of evidence for irretrievable breakdown is so important. Sometimes the parties interpret a breakdown as irretrievable, they get divorced and they live to regret it later”.
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