Christian Institute welcomes halt to 'no-fault' divorce plans

(Photo: Unsplash/MelindaPack)

Plans to push through the biggest shake-up of divorce laws in the UK in half a century have ground to a halt following the suspension of Parliament. 

The prorogation has put an end, for now, to Government plans to shorten the time in which it takes for divorces to be finalised. 

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill had sought to eliminate the need for one partner in the marriage to find 'fault'.  It would also remove the right of a spouse to contest the divorce. 

Under the current law, couples must live separately for at least two years before beginning divorce proceedings.  

Once passed, the Bill would have reduced the time between the application for divorce and it being finalised to just six months.  

The Bill has been dropped, however, after failing to pass all its parliamentary stages before prorogation came into effect earlier this week.

The outcome has been welcomed by The Christian Institute, which campaigned against the changes on the grounds that it would reduce the likelihood of reconciliation and damage the institution of marriage.

It warned, however, that the legislation could return to Parliament in future. 

CiarĂ¡n Kelly, a Deputy Director at The Christian Institute, said: "We are pleased this marriage-wrecker's charter has failed to pass. It would have made the present epidemic-levels of divorce even worse.

"The consultation on these proposals showed 83 per cent of respondents disagreeing with plans to remove the right to contest the divorce.

"So we must be on our guard in case it returns in the new parliamentary session."

Fiona Bruce was among the MPs who had opposed the Bill.  Speaking in Parliament in June, she said that introducing divorce "on demand" could lead to a decline in marriage rates. 

"I am concerned that, if marriage can be seen as so easily exited, more and more young people will think, 'Why bother entering into it at all?'" she said.

"Marriage rates may well, and likely will, further decline."

She added: "I think these proposals will do even less than current procedures to help to promote dialogue and potentially therefore reconciliation."