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New divorce laws

(36 Posts)
Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 12:07:05

What do you think about it? AIBU in thinking it may result in more divorces / or be a good thing?

Link here or cut and paste below.

Spouses will no longer have the right to contest divorces under reforms that will stop people from being trapped in unhappy marriages.

At present husbands and wives are entitled to fight an application for divorce, forcing their partner to wait five years if no split can be agreed. The new law, to be announced today by David Gauke, the justice secretary, is to be introduced within three months.

Under the new arrangements, as soon as one partner initiates the divorce it cannot be stopped by the other party and a split can happen within six months.

The most widely reported case involving a contested divorce centred on Tini Owens, 68, from Worcestershire, who says that she is trapped in a loveless marriage. Last July the Supreme Court ruled that Ms Owens had failed to demonstrate that her relationship with Hugh Owens, 80, a mushroom farmer, had irretrievably broken down because of his unreasonable behaviour.

The ruling meant that under existing law she must wait until 2020 for the marriage to end on the ground that they will have been separated for five years. The new legislation will also include an end to fault-based divorce, meaning that couples no longer have to play the “blame game” to end their marriage quickly.

At present couples have to apportion fault for the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, usually citing “unreasonable behaviour”, even where they agree to a divorce. One party must blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage, with adultery or unreasonable behaviour being the most common reasons. Desertion is also legally accepted but it is rarely cited.

There is cross-party support for the reform. The government’s bill fulfils a key part of The Times’s Family Matters campaign, run with the Marriage Foundation.

Mr Gauke said: “While we will always uphold the institution of marriage, it cannot be right that our outdated law creates or increases conflict between divorcing couples.”

Sir Paul Coleridge, founder of the Marriage Foundation and a former High Court family law judge, expected that religious groups would criticise the new law for allegedly opening the floodgates to divorce, but he added: “The current law does not prevent people from getting divorced; it just keeps them in marriages they do not want to be in.”

Aidan Jones, the chief executive of Relate, a relationship support charity, said: “The fault-based system led parting couples to apportion blame, often making it harder for ex-partners to develop positive relationships as co-parents.”

Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 12:07:31

Sorry, link here

Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 12:15:33

So basically does this mean at any point one person just says "I want divorce" and it goes ahead?

Figure8 Tue 09-Apr-19 12:28:05

About f'ing time.
How bloody barbaric that people weren't allowed to decide for themselves that their marriage was over.
If there are more divorces, then good. People should be married by choice, not because the law makes it difficult for them to get out.
Applause all round. wine

HBStowe Tue 09-Apr-19 12:29:35

No. Couples will still have to go through the legal process of separating, including agreeing a divorce settlement or having a decision made in the courts.

This just means that if one party wants to get divorced, the other can’t hold them ransom by refusing. Previously, where one party wanted to divorce and the other didn’t, the first party would have to wait for 5 years before they could initiate the process.

This is a really good thing. People in unhappy marriages shouldn’t be forced to stay in them because their spouse doesn’t consent to divorce. And divorce is a better solution than an unhappy marriage. More divorces isn’t a bad thing if the alternative is more unhappy marriages.

IceCreamAndCandyfloss Tue 09-Apr-19 12:30:20

Sounds like a good move, less blame can only be good if children are involved.

I'd like more emphasis pre marriage, too many just want the big day and don't think about the actual commitment.

IlluminatiConfirmed Tue 09-Apr-19 12:33:31

Great news! Only fair.

autumnnightsaredrawingin Tue 09-Apr-19 12:34:51

Personally I think it’s a very positive step forward.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Tue 09-Apr-19 12:38:41

BBC link - for anyone who doesnt want to have to pay to read

Divorce laws in England and Wales are to be overhauled so couples can split faster and, it is hoped, with less acrimony.

Under current rules, one spouse has to allege adultery or unreasonable behaviour by the other for divorce proceedings to start straight away.

In future, they will only have to state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

It will also stop one partner refusing a divorce if the other one wants one.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said the changes would help to end the "blame game".

Fault lines

Currently, "fault-based" divorces, where there are allegations of adultery or unreasonable behaviour - can take as little as three to six months.

But "no-fault" divorces can take much longer - with couples having to prove they have been living apart for at least one year in Scotland, and at least two years in the rest of the UK.

Living apart can include living in the same house, provided they are not sharing a bed or living as a couple.

Mr Gauke told BBC News: "Frankly, we are not going to keep marriages together by having a divorce process that just makes it more acrimonious [and} tries to apportion blame in such a way that the couple are likely to have a weaker, poorer relationship subsequently than they would otherwise do."

He stressed the new law will be introduced as soon as possible, "when parliamentary time allows".


The new rules will include a minimum timeframe of six months from petition stage to decree absolute - the legal document that ends a marriage.

At the end of this period the applicant will be required to continue to affirm their decision to seek a divorce before the divorce is granted.

The government says this will give a "meaningful period of reflection" and the "opportunity to turn back".

In addition, a new option will allow couples to apply for a divorce jointly.

GrumbleBumble Tue 09-Apr-19 12:39:53

So basically does this mean at any point one person just says "I want divorce" and it goes ahead?

Once one person no longer wants to be in a relationship that relationship is over, be it a marriage, a friendship or a couple dating. It takes two to tango once one of the pair stops dancing there is no point in carrying on dragging them round the floor.

LikeARedBalloon Tue 09-Apr-19 12:41:44

Brilliant. After having to agree to all sorts of ridiculous things stated by my ex husband just to speed up the divorce process, I welcome this. 👍

yearinyearout Tue 09-Apr-19 12:43:00

Very positive move. A member of my family has just finalised a divorce and it became so bitter because of the need to apportion blame.

Home77 Tue 09-Apr-19 12:49:55

Thanks for explaining, Yes I can see how the blaming part doesn't help anyone and would be hard for the children also. Making it difficult to move forward in an amicable fashion as well so would have repercussions for the future. So good to end all of that.

SnowsInWater Tue 09-Apr-19 12:52:08

Having to apportion blame is archaic. Here in Aus there is no fault divorce, you have to be separated a year which I think is a sensible timeframe and you are supposed to show that you have made arrangements for your children to maintain a meaningful relationship with both of their parents post divorce. Having a Parenting Plan (signed and dated)will suffice, you don't need Orders, but if you can't agree re. Parenting mediation is compulsory before you can go to Court (with some exceptions).

ScreamingValenta Tue 09-Apr-19 12:52:24

Once one person no longer wants to be in a relationship that relationship is over

Sums up perfectly why this change to the law is long-overdue.

ScreamingValenta Tue 09-Apr-19 12:53:33

SnowsInWater Out of interest, are the time frames the same if you're divorcing but don't have any children?

ItsAllGone19 Tue 09-Apr-19 13:20:55

I think it's a really positive move in the right direction and prevents controlling arseholes from calling the shots on when someone is permitted to divorce. It also means no one has to be to blame for the breakdown of a relationship. Sometimes people just grow apart, they shouldn't have to make out that one of them is being unreasonable to dissolve the marriage.

Graphista Tue 09-Apr-19 13:24:37

"I'd like more emphasis pre marriage, too many just want the big day and don't think about the actual commitment."

Just what I was going to say.

I used to work in the wedding industry and the younger women particularly are far more focused on being "princess for a day" than considering the reality of marriage long term.

One bride made the mistake of saying to me as a divorcee and a fairly recent divorcee at that time the trite "it's too easy to get divorced" my response was to ask if she were a divorcee which she wasn't, and then to say I disagreed and actually I think it's too easy to get married.

In my case ex cheated and I'll admit there was a certain satisfaction in being able to have that formally recognised in the divorce papers and he couldn't deny it.

But yes there are some couples for whom this will be a huge improvement. It's ridiculous to keep someone trapped in a marriage they don't want to be in longer than absolutely necessary.

Also being from Catholic heritage I know there's also people who refuse to divorce on religious grounds and this would allow the other spouse to divorce without having to wait or apportion blame where there isn't really any and it just makes things more difficult.

But it's not the whole story unfortunately, I was lucky enough to divorce before legal aid was removed except in dv situations and I strongly believe that needs to be reinstated.

Divorce shouldn't only be available to the well off and poorer people divorcing shouldn't be at a disadvantage in getting legal advice.

As for co-parenting that would be much easier if the govt enforced cm regulations and contact agreements more stringently.

My ex was given chance after chance on contact and messed dd about horrifically if the law was such that even a 3 strike rule was applied that would have been much better for dd though I accept some responsibility for that as with hindsight I should have just let him gradually vanish.

Don't even get me started on csa!

SimonJT Tue 09-Apr-19 13:27:13

About time too! If you’re considered competent enough to enter a marriage you should be considered competent enough to end it.

Cath2907 Tue 09-Apr-19 13:29:31

Having just divorced my husband I welcome this. He and I had to sit down and decide who would blame whom. I blamed him (I am better at paperwork) and he agreed to be blamed. To be honest there was no blame we just wanted not to be married BUT we wanted a legal financial split asap to allow us to properly start rebuilding new lives.

BlingLoving Tue 09-Apr-19 13:32:02

I think this new law is bloody briliant and should have existed years ago. I have been horrified reading stories of women who are desperately unhappy but can't divorce because their husband refuses. It's insane. If someone is unhappy in a relationship, they should always have the right to walk away and it is beyond shocking it's taken this long.

Ditto, the no blame thing. A friend of mine is going through a divorce and a real sticking point is the fact that she wants him to be at fault. Their relationship broke down. They both did things wrong and, more importantly, if they are being honest I think they both know they should never have gotten married in the first place. But this blame thing is starting to cause real problems. I hope it means that their divorce can just go through now without all this shit.

Ragnarthe Tue 09-Apr-19 13:33:20

A friend of mine was left at 8 months pregnant with a DS 5. Her scumbag abusive husband never paid a penny in maintenance and did a bunk to the US.
He ran a successful business which she helped him establish.
The bastard then refused to sign the divorce papers and she had to wait years to divorce him when she could do it for abandonment.
About time these ridiculous rules were changed. They were enabling coercive control to continue.

TheHodgeoftheHedge Tue 09-Apr-19 13:39:52

It's well overdue and I wish it had been around when I needed it. Things could have been very different.

DeathyMcDeathStarFace Tue 09-Apr-19 13:43:45

Hopefully this will help an ex colleague of mine. She had been separated from her husband for over 5 years and was still having problems getting a divorce (no idea what he was doing to prevent it) even though he was living with another woman.

It's at least 8 years now (I left the job 3 years ago) and I don't think they are divorced yet.

Even though I don't think divorce should be taken lightly (like many others) I hope this helps her get the divorce she so badly needs.

fotheringhay Tue 09-Apr-19 13:51:46

I can see the positives of this. But I'm getting divorced right now, and I wish it was harder to end a marriage to be honest.

I made all my major life decisions - babies, mortgage, etc - on the basis of our marriage. I trusted his promise to me. It was so easy for him to walk away.

In the end I initiated the legal proceedings and he admitted adultery. But I would have quite liked him to have had to come up with reasons why it was intolerable to be married to me any longer. He couldn't have done it, he told me as much.

I understand that ideally people should be able to walk away from any relationship at any time for any reason, or none. But it's so often to the massive detriment of the one left behind, with all the responsibilities piled onto their (her) shoulders.

I think we could've worked it out, at least I wish we'd been obliged to have relationship counselling before it ended.

(Of course I wouldn't want that to have to happen in abusive relationships, or when both parties want it to end.)

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