Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Christian groups attack 'no-reason' divorces, accuse ministers of undermining marriage

A planned overhaul of the law in England and Wales will "undermine marriage" and lead to a rise in the number of couples filing for divorce.

Under proposed new divorce legislation unveiled by Justice Secretary David Gauke, a husband or wife only needs to declare that a relationship is irretrievably breakdown. They would not need to provide evidence.

The right of a spouse to contest a divorce would be removed. It has been used in approximately two per cent of cases.

 

Jonathan Williams from Christian Action, Research and Education (CARE) said: "The Government's proposals to make divorce easier are incredibly misguided and will undermine marriage.

"If you make it easier to get a divorce, it is inevitable that the divorce rate will go up.

"Today, the Government is putting forward a view of marriage that prioritises individual freedom, rather than encouraging sacrifice and commitment."

 

Under the current Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, couples seeking a divorce could seek one if one partner is shown to be at fault through adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour.

Alternatively, if both parties agree to divorce but blame is not apportioned, a divorce could be granted after they have been living separately for at least two years.

Or, if only one party seeks the divorce, one might be granted if the parties have been living apart for a minimum of five years.

 

Andrea Williams from Christian Concern, said: "'No fault' divorce is really 'no reason' divorce.

"How can the justice secretary say in one breath that he wants to uphold the institution of marriage when he is tearing it down, allowing people to walk away from their solemn promises to hold together in life-long commitment?

"Marriage matters for our children, and they need to know it matters. This legislation will make life less stable and more chaotic for them.

 

The shake-up would introduce a minimum period of six months between the lodging of a divorce petition and the divorce becoming official.

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