New UK divorce law could reduce the level of negotiation, conflict and mental health degradation often found by those seeking a legal separation in the UK.
The move follows a public consultation where family justice professionals and those with direct experience of divorce voiced their support for reform. The new legislation will, therefore, be introduced to Parliament to update our 50-year-old divorce law which has been shown to exacerbate conflict.
Ministers are acting to change the law after responses also revealed that the current system can work against any prospect of reconciliation, and can be damaging to children by undermining the relationship between parents after divorce.
Justice Secretary David Gauke said:
“Hostility and conflict between parents leave their mark on children and can damage their life chances.
“While we will always uphold the institution of marriage, it cannot be right that our outdated law creates or increases conflict between divorcing couples.
“So I have listened to calls for reform and firmly believe now is the right time to end this unnecessary blame game for good.
Aidan Jones OBE, Chief Executive at relationship support charity, Relate said:
“This much-needed change to the law is good news for divorcing couples and particularly for any children involved. The outdated fault-based divorce system led parting couples to apportion blame, often resulting in increased animosity and making it harder for ex-partners to develop positive relationships as co-parents.
“As a large body of evidence shows, parental conflict is damaging to children’s wellbeing and chances in life, whether the parents are together or separated. It’s good that the government has listened and taken action on this, demonstrating a commitment to reducing parental conflict.
“While divorce isn’t a decision that people tend to take lightly, we do support the extension of the minimum timeframe which will allow more time to reflect, give things another go if appropriate, and access support such as relationship counselling or mediation.” Read more