Advice & Inspiration

Published on April 30th, 2014 | by Parenting Solo


Divorce should be as simple as signing on the dotted line says judge

The country’s most senior family law judge, Sir James Munby, has said that divorcing couples should not have to go to court to end their marriage – instead, simply sign a form at their local register office and have it recorded in the same way as births and deaths.

Sir James also backed fault-free divorce, where neither partner is responsible for the break up of the marriage,  and said that unreasonable behaviour and adultery should not be on the statute book.

He asked: “Has the time not come to legislate to remove all concepts of fault as a basis for divorce and to leave irretrievable breakdown as the sole ground?”

Sir James told reporters: “There are countries where the system is that a divorce which is by consent and where there are no children is treated as an administrative matter dealt with by what, using our terminology, one might describe as the registrar of births, deaths, marriages and divorces. It seems to work.”

He added that his proposals would bring ‘intellectual honesty to the situation’ and get rid of ‘an unnecessary process which simply makes life more complicated’, but claimed that it would not make divorce any easier than it is at present.

Sir James also said there should be a  cohabitation law to protect women who have lived with a partner for a set period, but not married them. It has already been suggested by Government advisers that couples who co-habit but do not marry should have their relationships recognised in law after two years if they have children, and five if they do not.



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Parenting Solo

is an online resource for lone parents, offering news, debate, features and expert opinion. It is edited by journalist and broadcaster Kelly Rose Bradford.

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