Proposals to radically alter divorce law will create a “conveyor belt” which will be extremely difficult for couples to get off, the Coalition for Marriage has warned.
The pro-marriage group spoke out as the Government’s Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill began its Parliamentary stages on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Justice announced the Bill the day after ‘divorce day’ – the Monday following New Year when lawyers reportedly see a spike in couples beginning divorce proceedings.
Colin Hart, Chairman of Coalition for Marriage (C4M), said: “Far from helping families to stick together, making separating easier and quicker will lead to more divorces, more broken families and makes a mockery of the Government’s claims to be pro-family.”
“This Bill creates a conveyor belt to divorce which will be extremely difficult to jump off.”
He added that C4M had hoped the Government might have dropped the “disastrous legislation”, and that there was still time to withdraw the Bill.
Mr Hart noted: “Lawyers are the only beneficiaries from these plans. Their work will be made much easier, and they’ll be guaranteed to get many more divorce cases.”
His comments coincide with a top lawyer expressing her desire for divorce to become one of the UK’s “greatest exports”.
Ayesha Vardag said the industry is currently worth £1 billion in fees but if it was ‘opened up’ to the world, it could be worth up to four times as much.
Under the Bill, spouses would be able to simply walk away from a marriage without having to give any reason and without their spouse being able to contest the decision.
A previous version of the Bill ran out of time ahead of the General Election.
‘Divorce on demand’
In July, the Church of England said the plans do nothing to help couples reconcile and have not been “sufficiently thought through”.
It said the Government’s proposal “did nothing to encourage reflection and re-examination of the marital situation”, or “support the resilience of marriages”.
The Bishop of Durham commented that while the Church “shared the Government’s objective of reducing family conflict, it was not persuaded that the proposals on divorce had been sufficiently thought through”.
Writing for the Law Society, the BBC’s former legal correspondent Joshua Rozenberg said there was “no doubt” the Government was introducing “divorce on demand”.