Is Divorce Braced for an Overdue Reform?
The concept of divorce is financially and emotionally stressful, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your break-up. A set of archaic divorce laws hardly help this process, with legislation heavily blame oriented and capable of deepening the divides that exist within relationship.
This could be about to change, however, with David Gaulke having proposed a change to the UK’s laws and outlined his plans to introduce “no-fault” divorces. This would negate the need for couples to apportion blame when speaking to divorce lawyers and filing for a divorce, while creating a less antagonistic system that improves the lives, outlook and wellbeing of citizens.
We’ll explore this further in the article below, while asking how it will impact on residents throughout the UK.
How will the Divorce Laws Change in the UK?
Under the current laws in England and Wales, someone filing for divorce has to cite adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion on their part of their spouse if they’re to achieve their objective.
If they’re unable to cite these reasons or offer proof to support these assertions, couples have to live apart for five years in order to file successfully for a divorce.
The issue with existing family law is that it’s extremely inflexible, while it also encourages animosity between partners and force them to apportion blame for the relationship’s breakdown.
These laws also fail to address the complexity of divorce and relationship breakdowns, as couples often separate without any need for blame or animosity at all. This is why the new legislation is being put forward, to respect the reality of modern-day marriages and create divorce laws that promote harmony, understanding and a strong sense of conciliation.
In simple terms, the new laws will remove the archaic requirement for one partner to allege fault on the part of their spouse, allowing couples to end their marriage regardless of their reasons for their discontent. Similarly, the new legislation will not require couples to separate for a period of time in order to become eligible to file for divorce, and this potentially prevents families from being unnecessarily torn apart.
How will These New Laws Impact on Society?
Marriage remains a huge institution in the UK, with regions such as Yorkshire offering a prime example of this.
According to the most recent census data, an estimated 46.1% people are married in the Yorkshire and Humber region, while a further 12.1% cohabit with a member of the opposite sex. Conversely, 8.7% of locals are separated and divorced, and all of these demographics may be impacted by the new laws at some point in the future.
Aside from the influential nature of these new laws, it’s also important to note that they’ll have a positive impact on mental wellbeing and family harmony in the UK.
Interestingly, one aspect of the new law will prevent spouses from contesting divorce applications made by their partner, creating a less antagonistic and costly process that minimises both financial and emotional stress.
At the same time, speedier, cheaper and more amicable divorces will also have a significant impact on family harmony. Not only will it be easier for parents to stay together as they file for a divorce, for example, but children will be less likely to be drawn into or affected by acrimony and conflict.