No-fault: U.K. plans to re­move ‘ar­chaic’ req­ui­sites for di­vorce

Times Colonist - - Canada / World -

LON­DON — The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment is propos­ing to in­tro­duce “no-fault” di­vorces and make other changes to make it much eas­ier for mar­ried cou­ples to di­vorce.

Jus­tice Sec­re­tary David Gauke Satur­day be­gan a con­sul­ta­tion process to re­vise laws he said were “out of touch with mod­ern life.” New leg­is­la­tion would be needed to make th­ese pro­pos­als law.

“When a re­la­tion­ship ends, it can­not be right for the law to cre­ate or in­crease con­flict be­tween di­vorc­ing cou­ples,” he said. “That is why we will re­move the ar­chaic re­quire­ments to al­lege fault or show ev­i­dence of sep­a­ra­tion, mak­ing the process less ac­ri­mo­nious and help­ing fam­i­lies look to the fu­ture.”

There will be a 12-week con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod to gauge pub­lic re­sponse. Un­der the pro­pos­als, spouses would no longer be able to chal­lenge a di­vorce ap­pli­ca­tion made by their part­ner. It would no longer be nec­es­sary to prove mis­con­duct such as adul­tery or to live apart for a cer­tain num­ber of years be­fore a cou­ple could di­vorce.

The pro­pos­als have pro­voked a gen­er­ally pos­i­tive re­sponse from di­vorce lawyers who said it would re­duce con­flict be­tween cou­ples at a dif­fi­cult time.

Di­vorce lawyer Mark Harper said the changes would, if adopted, “save 65,000 or more di­vorc­ing cou­ples each year from hav­ing to prove fault to get a di­vorce, which will mean a bet­ter and more am­i­ca­ble start to those pro­ceed­ings.”

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