TELL YOUR MP: GOVERNMENT’S QUICKIE DIVORCE BILL MUST BE STOPPED
Dear Marriage supporter
The Government’s reckless ‘no-fault’ divorce Bill is likely to be discussed by MPs soon.
Please contact your MP and ask him to tell the Government to drop the Bill.
Ending a marriage will be easier than getting out of a mobile phone contract. The fault grounds will be abolished. A person could end their marriage on demand and the spouse being divorced would have no say. A victim of adultery or domestic violence will not be able to cite that conduct as the reason for the divorce. The legal expectation that a marriage be lifelong is effectively scrapped.
The Bill is also wrong on the Government’s own terms. It claims it wants to end the ‘blame game’ and says this comes from the fault requirements. But if that is the case, why also abolish the separation categories (where the couple need only show that they have lived apart)? This will be disastrous – slashing the opportunity for reconciliation.
There are around 100,000 divorces each year on average. In 2018, 42% were on the basis of separation for either two years or five years. That means, before the divorce process started, the couple had to lead separate lives for years. It creates an opportunity for second thoughts and potential reconciliation.
This Bill ditches that window. A divorce could go through within six months – or sooner if a future Government uses the power in the Bill to reduce the time yet further. Even a leading supporter of no-fault divorce has criticised the Government’s reforms as “very fast and very unfair” because it “puts all the cards into the hands” of the person seeking the divorce.
This is a marriage-wrecker’s charter.
Contact your MP now to object to the Bill. Please put some of the ideas below into your own words:
Making divorce quicker and easier will increase divorce. A survey in 2018 found that 72% of people thought ‘no-fault’ divorce may make people “more blasé” about getting a divorce.
In 2018 almost 40,000 divorces were on a separation basis. This means the couple have had at least two years to reflect before getting divorced. The plans will drastically speed up tens of thousands of divorces, removing the opportunity for reconciliation.
Marriage vows matter. These plans trivialise marriage promises by saying they can be broken with impunity. They create instability and uncertainty in marriage.
Research overwhelmingly shows that children normally fare better in married households compared to those in broken homes. Making divorce even easier is not in the interests of children.
The planned process denigrates marriage and downplays the seriousness of divorce. Mobile phone contracts will be more binding than marriage.
80% of responses to the Government’s consultation were against the changes the Bill introduces.
Six months is no time at all, yet the Bill gives the Government power to cut this period even further.
Divorce is damaging regardless of the mechanism. These reckless changes will encourage more divorce, and society will suffer the consequences.
As a matter of justice, a person who has remained faithful to their marriage vows only for their spouse to break them should have a means of reflecting this in the divorce.
A victim of adultery or domestic violence will not be able to cite their spouse’s conduct as the reason for the divorce.
The plans would redefine marriages that already exist. People who are married did not sign up to an arrangement that allowed their spouse to unilaterally end the marriage without cause or a significant period of separation.
Previous amendments to divorce law have increased divorce. Changes in the 1970s saw the number of divorces in England and Wales rocket from 58,239 in 1970 to 148,301 by 1980.
It should be Government policy to save saveable marriages. More time – at least a year – is needed to allow for reconciliation. Six months is dangerously short.
The state should be encouraging personal responsibility by supporting those who want to stay true to their word and make their marriages work, not helping break them up.
CONTACT YOUR MP
Coalition for Marriage (C4M)