Peers speak out against no-fault divorce plans

Members of the House of Lords have spoken out against Government plans to dramatically overhaul divorce law to make ending a marriage much quicker and easier.

At present, anyone seeking a divorce must prove their marriage has irretrievably broken down through either adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, or separation for two years with their spouse’s consent, or five years without.

The Government wants to change this to allow one party to divorce the other within six months without giving a reason and without their spouse’s agreement.

’Strengthen families’

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, Lord Farmer, Baroness Meyer and Baroness Eaton criticised the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill alongside Conservative MP Fiona Bruce.

They said: “This Government was elected on a mandate to strengthen families: the Conservative manifesto stated that ‘a strong society needs strong families’.”

“This Government was elected on a mandate to strengthen families”

Their letter pointed out that the manifesto made no mention of no-fault divorce, and noted that instead of prioritising “delivery of actual promises”, the Bill was “stealthily reintroduced under the guise of ‘minimising the impact of divorce’”.

Ignores public

They continued: “More than 70 per cent of the general public say fault should be retained, and 80 per cent of respondents to the Government’s consultation reject its removal from divorce.

“Yet the legal elite – whose interests are heavily invested in this misguided attempt to sanitise divorce – are deemed to know better.

“The Government, by pandering to the liberal consensus, ignores the interests of those who have lent them their votes and who do not want marriage undermined by divorce becoming incontestable.”

‘Wholly unnecessary”

The parliamentarians concluded: “It will mean more, not fewer, children reeling from its aftermath.”

They called on the Government to abandon the “socially disruptive and wholly unnecessary Bill”, and promised that if it persisted they would “seek to amend it to mitigate the considerable harm it would do”.