At Last! Divorce Law Reform Is On Its Way

photographed by Megan Madden; produced by Sam Nodelman; produced by Yuki Mizuma.
The government has announced plans to modernise the "archaic" state of divorce law in England and Wales.
At present, people seeking a divorce have to prove at least one of five facts. Three of these are based on the idea of "fault": adultery, behaviour or desertion.
The other two are based on separation: a period of two years will suffice if both parties agree to the divorce, but a period of five years is required if one party objects.
In a release shared this weekend, the government said it wants to bring divorce law up-to-date by removing the need to show fault and the need to prove a period of time spent living apart.
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The government has duly launched a consultation exploring how to "reduce family conflict" in the divorce process.
Justice Secretary David Gauke said: "Marriage will always be one of our most important institutions, but when a relationship ends it cannot be right for the law to create or increase conflict between divorcing couples.
"That is why we will remove the archaic requirements to allege fault or show evidence of separation, making the process less acrimonious and helping families look to the future. The proposals are set out in a government consultation launched today, and will apply to marriages and civil partnerships."
The government has faced increased pressure to reform the existing divorce law since July, when the Supreme Court ruled that Tini Owens was not entitled to divorce her husband on the grounds that she is "desperately unhappy" in their marriage because he had objected.
Writing for Refinery29 at the time, Katy Thompsett branded the current law "horribly updated", and recalled how the law's fault requirement made her own divorce "tortuous and unpleasant".
"Even now, years down the line, I can only really discuss it with one eye closed," she wrote. "And I was lucky; I was happy to shoulder responsibility, and my husband and I remained amicable throughout.
"Yet the fact of the matter is that I should not have had to shoulder that responsibility – our relationship ended, as relationships do, through no great fault of our own – and apportioning blame where there is none to satisfy an antiquated legal requirement reduces a pair of adults who have made a considered decision to schoolchildren arguing over who pulled who's hair first."
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