Divorce law: Plans to overhaul 'archaic' laws revealed

The government reveals plans to make divorce a less confrontational process for couples.

A smashed wedding cake

More details have emerged about government plans to overhaul "archaic" divorce laws in England and Wales.

Couples wishing to divorce could soon benefit from a less confrontational process, under proposals confirmed by the Justice Secretary David Gauke.

The government has launched a consultation proposing removing the need to allege "fault", and the right of spouses to contest a divorce.

Mr Gauke said the current divorce laws were "out of touch with modern life".

Under the current law, unless people can prove their marriage has broken down due to adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion, the only way to obtain a divorce without a spouse's consent is to live apart for five years.

If the separation is mutual, the couple have to prove they have been separated for a minimum of two years before they can divorce.

Mr Guake said: "We think that the blame game that currently exists helps nobody. It creates unnecessary antagonism and anxiety at an already trying time for couples."

The proposed changes, which were leaked earlier this month, include making "the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage" the sole grounds for a divorce.

It is also recommending removing the need to show evidence of a spouse's conduct, or a period of living apart.

The 12-week consultation also proposes a new notification process where one, or possibly both parties, can simply notify the court of their intention to divorce, removing the opportunity for the other spouse to contest the divorce application.

The changes would apply to both marriages and civil partnerships.

Tini Owens was refused a divorce by the family court and Court of Appeal

Pressure for reform intensified after a woman's appeal for divorce was rejected by the Supreme Court in July due to her husband's refusal to split.

Tini Owens, 68, wanted to divorce on the grounds she was unhappy but her husband of 40 years refused the split, leading the court to rule against her "with reluctance".

That meant she must remain married until 2020 - as currently the only way to obtain a divorce without a spouse's agreement is to live apart for five years.

Mr Gauke said the case had "generated broader questions about what the law requires of people going through divorce and what it achieves in practice".

There had been a "growing coalition recognising that the animosity that is put into this system is one that is not doing us any good," he said.

Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon had previously urged the government to simply change the law rather than undertaking a consultation.

Hannah Cornish, head of family law at Slater and Gordon, said there was a "desperate need" for reform.

She added: "Having to place blame can really inflame matters at what can already be a stressful and difficult time for a family."

Ministers also want views on the minimum time between the interim and final divorce decree in order to allow couples time to reflect and reach agreement on arrangements for the future if divorce is inevitable.


Grounds for divorce in England and Wales:

When you apply for a divorce you must prove your marriage has broken down and give one of the following five reasons:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • You have lived apart for more than two years and both agree to the divorce
  • You have lived apart for at least five years, even if your husband or wife disagrees

Source: Gov.UK




Date: 15 September 2018 | Source: BBC

More UK News

Former Showaddywaddy bassist Al James dies aged 72

Al James was with the group from its inception in 1973 until he retired more than 30 years later

Cardiff boy, 7, finally walks after losing both legs aged 3

Aged three, Romeo Hadley suffered purpura fulminans, which led to both his legs being amputated

On the border beat in County Armagh

Armoured cars are still a reality for Northern Ireland's border police officers

Obituary: Richard Baker

The pioneer BBC newsreader who also fronted a host of classical music programmes

Former BBC newsreader Richard Baker dies aged 93

Once one of the BBC's best known personalities, he introduced the first news bulletin on BBC TV in 1..

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson works out at Doncaster gym

Dwayne Johnson hit the weights at a Doncaster gym during a break from filming his latest blockbuster..
View More

More Telford News

 Children In Need: Shropshire joins in the fundraising fun

Eating rabbit food and raw eggs, baking cakes and collecting funds for a g..

 Blaze wrecks car in Telford street

Police in Telford are appealing for information after a car was wrecked in..

 Telford lighting up for Christmas

Telford's main Christmas lights switch-on was taking place today.

 Call for more Shropshire volunteers to transport patients

A father and son from Telford are calling for now volunteers to join them ..

 Police investigate car fire in Donnington

An investigation is taking place into the cause of a car fire in Telford la..

 Successful Telford 50 events to return in 2019

Three major events that attracted tens of thousands of people as part of Te..
View More

Telford Businesses

Calendar Countdown

[[countdown here]]
[[countdown here]]

Upcoming Events in Telford

28 Nov 2018

Wednesday 28 November 8pm

Doors open 7.15pm

Show running time (approx): 45 minutes - 20 minutes interval - 45 minutes


Tickets £16.50

14+ (Parental Guidance). Likely to be swearing and adult content.

View Details

01 Dec 2018

9:30am - 12pm


Adult - £8.50

Child - £11.95

Family - £39

View Details

01 Dec 2018

2:30pm - 4:30pm

Please arrive 15 minutes before the start time to allow time to be seated.


Child - £14.95

Adult's - £9.95

Family Ticket - £45

View Details
View More