Eddie Mair 4pm - 6pm
LBC Views: The divorce laws are out of touch and need further reform
6 April 2022, 11:51 | Updated: 6 April 2022, 11:55
Instigating divorce proceedings in the UK has represented the start of a drawn out messy battle for most couples, with one spouse being forced to blame the other, citing the likes of unreasonable behaviour or adultery, unless the couple was willing to wait up to five years before being able to start the legal process.
From April 6 all this changes with the introduction of ‘no-fault divorce’, the biggest update in divorce law in 50 years.
Under the new law, couples married in England and Wales will be able to split without having to say one person was in the wrong.
Those against the changes say they undermine the sanctity of marriage, paving the way for ‘quickie divorces’; I do not subscribe to this trail of thought.
Laws need to keep up with the times and the blame-laden divorce systems we’ve had in place for the past 50 years has been out of touch with modern society, and damaging for some time.
Removing the issue of blame from divorce law, and the ability of one spouse to defend a divorce, now paves the way for a more collaborative and less confrontational approach, which will be welcomed by couples wishing to divorce, especially where children are involved.
The new process also does not represent a quickie divorce approach, with a minimum of 20 weeks between commencing proceedings and applying for a conditional order, and a further six-week period before a divorce is granted.
So, those are the good points but unfortunately there are negatives as the changes to the law fall desperately short of solving all the issues with the current system.
The changes totally neglect the financial side of the divorce, which is often the most controversial part of the process.
In fact, when it comes to the division of matrimonial assets, there is no change to the law, meaning the court will consider the same factors as it did before, including the behaviour of the parties during the relationship.
Additionally, we also now have the complication of pre-nuptial agreements which the law needs to catch up with.