Marriage is once again under threat after plans for a no-fault divorce was put back on the agenda by the new Government.
Following December’s General Election, the Queen’s Speech was presented to Parliament and, within the programme, 29 bills were mentioned, one of which was the proposed Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill.
Under this proposed bill, spouses would be able to simply walk away from a marriage without having to give any reason and without their spouse being able to contest the decision.
Groups such as The Christian Institute, CARE and the Coalition for Marriage have consistently spoken out against the idea, saying it would be hugely damaging to the institution of marriage.
The bill was dropped when it ran out of parliamentary time before the election and it was hoped that it would not be put forward again.
But, as Ciaran Kelly, deputy director of The Christian Institute, has commented, the new version ‘looks just as bad as the old’.
He said, ‘If the bill becomes law, spouses will be able to simply walk away from a marriage without having to give any reason and without their spouse being able to contest the decision. A divorce could be wrapped up in just six months’.
Supporters of the bill say that by making divorce quicker and easier family conflict will be reduced.
However, as Mr Kelly said, ‘By removing the incentive and reducing the time to reconcile, it is an increase in divorce that is inevitable. Tragically, thousands more marriages will end, with all the trauma and sorrow that will bring’.
Last year, a government consultation on the earlier proposals found that 83 per cent of respondents disagreed with the plans to remove the right to contest a divorce, while in July 2019, a statement from the Church of England said the plans would do nothing to help couples reconcile and had not been ‘sufficiently thought through’.
A Coalition for Marriage spokesman said, ‘The prospect of on-demand quickie divorces has reared its head again with the inclusion of no-fault divorce in the Government’s legislative programme. It’s nothing short of a marriage-wrecker’s charter.’