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Government confirms changes to divorce law to end blame game

Posted: 9th May 2019   In: Family Law

The government has confirmed that it will introduce new legislation to end the blame game for divorcing couples. It’s hoped the new approach will help reduce family conflict.

The move follows a public consultation where family justice professionals and those with direct experience of divorce voiced their support for reform. New legislation will therefore be introduced to Parliament to update our 50-year-old divorce law which has been shown to exacerbate conflict.

Under the current system, there are five reasons for being granted a divorce by the courts: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years separation if both agree to the divorce, or five years separation, even if the husband or wife disagrees.

This has led to many couples using claims of unreasonable behaviour as a way avoiding the requirement to wait two years.

Ministers are acting to change the law after responses also revealed that the current system can work against any prospect of reconciliation and can be damaging to children by undermining the relationship between parents after divorce.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “Hostility and conflict between parents leave their mark on children and can damage their life chances.

“While we will always uphold the institution of marriage, it cannot be right that our outdated law creates or increases conflict between divorcing couples. So I have listened to calls for reform and firmly believe now is the right time to end this unnecessary blame game for good.”

Proposals for changes to the law include:

The new legislation is expected to be introduced as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Please contact Kathryn Ainsworth or Joe Colley if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.

 

Posted by: Kathryn Ainsworth
Family
Berkhamsted Office