“Unjust and outdated” is how the Times newspaper described the UK’s current Divorce laws.
The newspaper has recently begun a campaign to reform the current system to bring it in line with modern day society. The campaign is being backed by several leading lawyers and judges.
The campaign is suggesting the government implement the following changes:
- Allowing divorce within a year where both sides agree and two where they do not agree. The current laws require fault based divorce within the first two years (adultery or unreasonable behaviour). A no fault divorce is only permitted after two years if both the parties consent to the divorce. If one party doesn’t consent then the current law won’t allow a no fault divorce for 5 years.
- Ending the outdated and patronising “meal ticket for life” that can result from laws on splitting assets and awarding maintenance after divorce, except where hardship would be caused.
- Making pre-nuptial contracts legally binding. At present they are non-statutory and although a family law judge may consider the content of a pre-nuptial agreement during divorce negotiations, they are not legally obliged to do so which can lead to further uncertainty and bitterness when marriages fail.
- Despite this been the fastest growing family type in the UK the current law does not provide any legal rights for people who cohabitate and choose not to marry. If the relationship fails or one of the partnership dies then there is no legal protection. The Times is campaigning for legal rights for long term cohabitees.
Chairman of the Marriage Foundation, Paul Coleridge, said: “We must urgently do something about the laws on marriage and divorce. These are no longer fit for purpose.”
“Our chief concern is to address the impact of the breakdown of relationships…particularly where there are children. These breakdowns have devastating consequences for both adults and children that can last for decades.”
So far, the government has not given any indication that it is prepared to consider change and has rejected similar calls in the past.
However with major media group like the Times campaigning for reform alongside many other family law groups such as Resolution, then maybe now they will sit up and take notice.
Lauren Jodrell is a solicitor who deals with all areas of family law, including divorce, financial negotiation and matters relating to children. She was trained and qualified in a Birmingham based firm, however, she was raised in Stoke on Trent and was keen to return to her roots and so joined the family law team at Grindeys in 2015.
She prides herself on being friendly and approachable as her clients are often going through a very difficult time in their life. She also appreciates the need to deal with matters as swiftly and as cost effectively as possible.
Her aim is to try and settle matters out of court, as this is cheaper and less traumatic for the disputing parties, but should your matter need court intervention you can rest assured that Lauren’s keen interest in advocacy will see you well represented.
Lauren is a member of both the Law Society and Resolution. Membership of both organisations requires a high level of continuous professional development and a commitment to exceptional client care.