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No-fault divorce would strengthen marriage, says Lady Hale

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Apr 24, 2018
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Nicholas D Hart 28 days ago

I think the Baroness has been seriously misquoted. We have had no fault divorce for almost 50 years. what we have not had is no fault 'quickie' divorce, as the only 2 statutory grounds for proving irretrievable marriage breakdown allowing an instant petition are grounded on adultery or behaviour. 

We will make no progress until there is a proper debate about 2 questions only:

1 If the petition is based on consent, is 2 years separation to prove breakdown is irretrievable too long. if so, should it be shortened, and, given modern housing constraints, do they really have to show they have lived physically apart for that period, or should an alternative consensual basis be allowed, ? and

2 If a unilateral petition without separation or consent, how do you establish the irretrievable breakdown?

For example, a solution to both questions  is to merely strengthen the compulsory mediation process, so that a certificate of a failed mediation is itself proof of the breakdown, but those such as the Baroness with real experience in the field could, I am sure provide something with more certainty.

Until there is consensus on the answers to those two questions, though, no progress can be made, nor can the redrafting of s. 2, and those sections dealing with the supplementary effects of divorce (children and finance) be considered meaningfully.