Christian charity agrees divorce laws are 'outdated'

Mon 30 Oct 2017
By Eno Adeogun

A Christian charity has added its voice to fresh calls for "outdated" divorce laws in England and Wales to be changed.

The Nuffield Foundation's new report called 'Finding Fault' claims sixty per cent of divorcing couples are making up stories of adultery and bad behaviour in order for the divorce to go through quickly under "fault-based" laws.

Harry Benson, a Christian and Research Director for the Marriage Foundation told Premier he agrees with the report's recommendation for reform.

He told Premier's News Hour: "A little over half of all divorces involve this fault at the moment, but it's essentially a sham.

"It's something that you end up having to concoct. If you want your divorce to happen within two years, you have to make up a reason. So it doesn't necessarily reflect what people's behaviour is."


A majority of divorce petitions in England and Wales still rely on allegations of fault.

In 1990 a Law Commission report set out six problems with fault-based divorce, including that the law was confusing and misleading, discriminatory and unjust, distorted bargaining positions, provoked unnecessary hostility, made things worse for children by exacerbating parental conflict whilst at the same time doing nothing to save marriages.

As a result, parliament went on to pass a no-fault divorce regime with the Family Law Act 1996, but logistical challenges meant that this was never implemented.

The report calls for lawmakers to remove fault divorce, so that divorce can solely be based on confirmation by at least one spouse that the marriage was irreconcilable.

Mr Benson told Premier that changing divorce laws won't lead to more people getting divorced.

He explained: "By introducing a no fault system - a genuine no fault system, it actually wouldn't make divorce easier, it would actually make it ever so slightly harder.

"It would make the whole process more serious and more effective."

Listen to Harry Benson speaking with Premier's Eno Adeogun:

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