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Society – Faulty divorce reform

November 2018

Ruth Deech – UK Parliament official portraits 2017
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Critics have blasted the government’s recent proposals for quicker and simpler ‘no fault’ divorce proceedings. In September, the government launched a consultation on removing the need to demonstrate fault or wait the relevant separation period if a couple wants to divorce.

But crossbench peer Baroness Deech said the plans are so full of flaws she doubts they will get through Parliament and will instead need to be changed.

Top family lawyer and senior Conservative Lord Farmer also opposed the change, saying liberalising the law was causing the breakdown of society, adding it would render marriage little more than cohabitation where a couple stays together as long as it suits them.

He said, ‘Marriage on the other hand is a solemn vow, an explicit statement of commitment, until death. Saying it’s no-one’s fault when one or both parties fail to live up to the promises made empties those promises of all meaning’.

Lord Farmer called on the government to appoint a senior cabinet minister for families, as he said that welfare overspending, homelessness and underachievement in education had all been caused by family breakdown.

He said, ‘The welfare system picks up the pieces when relationships crumble, because people who were previously dependent on each other become dependent on the state’.

He added that the housing crisis was exacerbated by family breakdown as ‘couples with children split up and both want family-sized homes’.