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Government has no plans to change existing divorce law legislation

24th Feb 2017

The government has confirmed that it has no current plans to change existing legislation on divorce law despite calls for its reformation.

When asked by Lord Pendry (Thomas Pendry) whether there were any plans to review the fault-based divorce system, justice minister and House of Lords spokesperson Lord Keen of Elie (Richard Keen QC) said the government was committed to improving the family justice system so that separating couples can “achieve the best possible outcomes for themselves and their families”. He went on to say that “Whilst we have no current plans to change the existing law on divorce, we are considering what further reforms to the family justice system may be needed.”

The news disappointed family solicitors, as according to research conducted by family law group Resolution,9 out of 10 practitioners believe divorce law needs to be modernised to allow for no-fault divorce.

Felicity Chapman, an associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, said the government minister’s statement was a significant missed opportunity, as “The government could have acted on the debate around fault-based divorce and drafted a change to the law – but has chosen not to do so.”

Last year 150 Resolution members visited parliament to discuss the matter with MPs, and despite the confirmation that there are no current plans to change the current legislation, Resolution said that it was delighted to see Lord Pendry challenge the government on the issue.

Nigel Shepherd, the Chair of Resolution, stated that the challenge to the Government “shows our lobbying is having an impact, and momentum is building – there is increased awareness among parliamentarians of this issue, and growing support for ending the blame game and helping separating couples to do so more amicably.”