Government planning changes to make divorce easier

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The Government is about to embark on a consultation to shake-up the country's divorce laws, Buzzfeed News reports. 

In the first major changes to divorce laws in half a century, couples in England and Wales would be able to seek a no-fault divorce.

Plans being drawn up by the Government would also remove the right of either spouse to contest the breakdown of the marriage.

Under current laws, couples in England and Wales who want to divorce must be able to demonstrate that there has been one of the following: adultery, unreasonable behavior, desertion, they have lived apart for more than two years and both consent to the divorce; or have lived apart for at least five years, even if one spouse disagrees with the separation.

Justice Secretary David Gauke, who is set to launch a consultation on the proposals, said the current system created 'unnecessary antagonism' for couples. 

Buzzfeed News reports that the consultation will also consider the length of time it takes for a divorce to be processed, with a timeframe of at least six months on the table.

The consultation comes on the heels of a controversial Supreme Court ruling this summer against a woman from Worcestershire who wanted to divorce her husband of 40 years against his will.

Tini Owens, 68, wanted to divorce her husband on the grounds that she was unhappy in the marriage, but the Supreme Court ruled that she must remain married to her husband, Hugh, until 2020. 

The Christian Institute is among those cautioning against any changes to the law to make divorce easier. It instead argues that the law should support reconciliation.

'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.'