Divorce is easier in India than England, report says

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May 21, 2018
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A team of family lawyers analysed approaches to divorce in more than 20 jurisdictions, including India

Ajit Solanki/AP

Divorce is more straightforward in Russia, China and India than in England and Wales, researchers have claimed.

The survey, which comes as English divorce laws are scrutinised in the Supreme Court, shows that they are not “fit for purpose”.

A specialist family team at the law firm Pennington Manches analysed approaches to divorce in more than 20 jurisdictions. The firm’s “barometer” shows that the divorce process is more convoluted in England and Wales than in many other countries, a spokeswoman said.

“Divorce is more straightforward in many other countries including Chile, India, China, Russia and Argentina, according to the research,” she said.

“The team reviewed and analysed current approaches to divorce in more than 20 jurisdictions worldwide in order to create a multinational barometer of divorce laws.

“The jurisdictions where divorce was deemed to be more difficult than in England and Wales included the Philippines, where it is not possible to divorce at all, Israel, where divorce is governed by religious courts, and the UAE, where fault must be proven and a court-appointed conciliator must attempt to reunite couples.”

Kerry Fretwell, a partner at the firm and one of the report’s authors, said: “With high-profile divorce stories in the news every week, you’d be forgiven for thinking getting a divorce is easy and uncomplicated.”

However, the report showed that “couples divorcing in England and Wales face a more convoluted process than their contemporaries in a number of jurisdictions that one may think of as traditionally more conservative,” she said.

“Family lawyers find themselves encouraging clients to prepare behaviour particulars that are exaggerated or inflammatory and likely to cause further distress and acrimony simply to satisfy the court, which many find morally repugnant.”

Last week, the Supreme Court justices considered whether an 80-year-old businessman and his 68-year-old wife should be allowed to divorce after their marriage of 40 years.

Tini Owens wants a divorce and says her marriage to Hugh Owens is loveless and unhappy and has broken down. She says that he has behaved unreasonably and that she should not reasonably be expected to stay married.

However, her husband has refused to agree to a divorce and denies her allegations about his behaviour, saying they still have a “few years of old age together”.

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