Coalition for Marriage 'very disappointed' by plans to introduce no-fault divorces

(Photo: Unsplash/Marc A Sporys)

The Coalition for Marriage has urged the Government to reconsider changes to the law that would allow no-fault divorces.

The Government announced earlier this month that it was launching a consultation into what would be the first major shake-up to divorce laws in England and Wales in half a century.

Announcing the consultation, Justice Secretary David Gauke, said the current system created 'unnecessary antagonism' for couples.

If the changes go ahead, couples seeking a divorce will no longer need to demonstrate that there was adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion or non-consensual separation.

A spouse who does not agree with the divorce will also no longer have the right to contest it.

The consultation will also consider aspects of current divorce law such as the length of time it takes for a divorce to be processed.

Coalition for Marriage campaign director, Thomas Pascoe, said the proposed changes were 'bad policy' and that the Government's impact assessment into no-fault divorces was a 'very flawed' document. 

'It doesn't consider the benefits of the current system,' he told The Christian Institute.

'It doesn't analyse any alternative models other than no-fault divorce, which it backs wholeheartedly. And it doesn't include any proposals to help people save their marriages, like counselling.

'This looks like bad policy-making and potentially quite a bad law coming down the path.'

The Christian Institute has voiced similar concerns about no-fault divorces, saying that the law should instead support couples in staying together.

'Given the devastating effects of divorce on adults, children and society, even those who do not hold to a Christian view of divorce should be opposed to measures which make divorce even easier,' it said.

'The statistics clearly show that every time the law on divorce has been liberalised, the number of divorces has increased.'

The Coalition for Marriage's concerns are mentioned in the Government's briefing paper into the changes, as are those of Sir Edward Leigh, who has warned of increased numbers of divorces in countries where no-fault divorces have already been introduced, such as Canada. 

Sir Leigh was quoted in the briefing as saying: 'Of course I would like to make the moral case for marriage and for a lifelong commitment to children.'