Divorce reform must not get left behind

Divorce|Family Law|April 5th 2019

This morning I noted that the media had picked back up the calls for divorce reform.

Influenced I am sure by the announcement yesterday that Chair Margaret Heathcote was to outline her concerns in a speech at Resolution’s annual conference in Manchester today.

One of Ms Heathcote’s main concerns is the danger that reform will fall by the wayside because MPs are tied-up with debating Brexit. And I for one, agree with her completely.

Now, we all have differing views about Brexit but one very real consequences of the endless wrangles at Westminster is that many other important issues are just forgotten altogether.

One of those is divorce reform.

Eventually, last September, the Government gave in to pressure from many quarters and committed to introducing ‘no-fault’ divorce.

Judges, barrister, solicitors and countless others had been campaigning for years to see the abolition of ‘blame’ at the very start of the divorce process. As things stand, the overwhelming number of divorces are based upon the behaviour or the adultery of the other person.

This leads to more unhappiness, misery and acrimony for couples who are already going through one of the most stressful periods in their lives. Inevitably, this affects any children involved.

Today in Manchester, the Chair of Resolution, the body which represents the majority of specialist family solicitors, Margaret Heathcote, urged the Government to fulfil its commitment.

She said,

“If you’re separating, and you’re faced with having to make unnecessary and unhelpful accusations against your ex on the divorce petition, there is nothing more important than this reform in the law.”

She went on to add that

“otherwise, every day that passes sees thousands of couples at risk of needless acrimony and denied the right to a kinder divorce process.”

The role of Government and the purpose of the law is to protect its citizens and make their lives easier where it is possible to do so and not to inflict unnecessary harm and damage children’s lives, possibly forever.

Stowe Family Law is the largest specialist family law firm in the country and we are part of the campaign to see divorce law changed and will continue to press for this much needed and long-delayed reform.

Graham Coy, London Chancery Lane 

Graham is based at the firm's London Chancery Lane office. His career as a family law specialist has spanned three decades. He is an experienced advocate, mediator and arbitrator who has worked in all areas of family law.

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