President of the Family Division: registrars should handle divorce

Divorce|April 29th 2014

Yes, the President of the Family Division is back in the news again. This time Sir James Munby has called for registrars to handle uncontested divorce cases.

Speaking at a news conference, he said that divorces ‘by consent’ had existed for decades and called for the introduction in England and Wales of a ‘no fault’ system, in which such separations by mutual agreement could be handled by registrars rather than judges. Such divorces were “essentially a bureaucratic, administrative process, albeit one conducted by a district judge”.

Such systems already exist, he said, in other countries for marriages without children. “It seems to work,” the President claimed.

Both BBC News and Radio 5 Live have covered his comments today and asked for my views on the President’s speech. And I was happy to give them.

Divorce is the dissolution of a legally binding contract of marriage. It forms the basis on which finances and child related issues are legally regulated following the breakdown of a marriage. As such I believe it should remain a legal process.

If it is removed from judicial supervision it could also be open to abuse.

I am in favour of being able to obtain no fault divorce, perhaps by a shorter period of separation than the current two years but equally I do understand from many years of experience with devastated individuals why many people would wish to retain fault as another reason for the irretrievable breakdown of marriage.

To read the full BBC article, please click here.

 

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(3)

  1. Child from troubled family background to be adopted - Marilyn Stowe Blog says:

    […] judge explained that, under guidance issued by the President of the Family Division in the much-cited case of Re B-S, adoption must only be considered where there is no alternative […]

  2. The Times highlights plans for ‘over-the-counter’ divorce - Marilyn Stowe Blog says:

    […] or makes claims over money or children. It follows the President’s call back in April for registrars to handle divorce. A new working group established by Sir James to examine  the idea was due to hold its first […]

  3. Sham marriages shoot up - Marilyn Stowe Blog says:

    […] Registrars alerted the authorities to 2,135 possibly sham marriages in 2013, compared to just 934 during 2010, the Home Office statistics suggest. Marriage registrars are required by law to inform officials if they believe “a marriage or civil partnership is a sham being entered into for immigration purposes”. […]

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