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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

New divorce proposals undermine marriage

The Government’s proposals to radically change divorce law in England and Wales will completely undermine marriage, social policy charity Christian Action Research & Education (CARE) has warned.

Under the current system, one spouse needs to allege adultery or unreasonable behaviour for the divorce to be considered immediately but the Government is changing the system, so all a spouse needs to state is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

This amounts to ‘no-reason divorce’, where a spouse can unilaterally end the marriage without having to give any reasons.
If one spouse wants out, they will be able to do so in six months and their spouse, who made what they regarded as a serious ‘till death us do part’ commitment, will have no rights to contest this at all.

“The Government’s proposals to make divorce easier are incredibly misguided and will undermine marriage,” Jonathan Williams, CARE’s Family Policy Officer, told The Catholic Universe.

“If you make it easier to get a divorce, it is inevitable that the divorce rate will go up.”

Mr Williams warned that the Government is putting forward a view of marriage that prioritises individual freedom, rather than encouraging sacrifice and commitment.

“To make marriage a relationship that one can exit unilaterally simply by saying you want out will fundamentally undermine the ability of marriage to bring stability to the lives of adults and children,” he said.

“We all agree that divorce is often hardest on children, but we think these changes will in fact lead to an increase in family breakdown, which is already at record high levels in the UK and therefore these changes will harm children, not help them.

“Divorce is not a temporary crisis that exerts most of its harmful effects on parents and children only during the time of the break-up. The reality is that the effects often go on for much longer,” he added.

“The Government should be helping couples to stay together, rather than making it easier for them to split up.”

Picture: A pair of wedding rings. (Anthony Devlin/PA).