Shake up to the divorce laws
Partner Simon Burge comments on whether the 'no fault' system development to divorce law proceedings goes far enough.
Simon Burge, partner in the family law team at Blake Morgan, said: “This is the first time that divorce laws have been shaken up since The Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and family lawyers have been pressing for these changes for a long time.
“While the introduction of a ‘no fault’ system is certainly a significant development, it may not improve divorce proceedings as much as some think. There is a viewpoint among some people that these changes will make getting a divorce no harder than ending a mobile phone contract. However, what this somewhat naïve view ignores is that in the vast majority of cases it isn’t the ‘main suit divorce’ that makes the process difficult, slow, cumbersome or expensive, rather it is all the ancillary issues concerning arrangements for children and splitting any shared money, property, maintenance or pensions. As family lawyers, this is what we spend most of our time and energy grappling with and these reforms do not address any of these key concerns.
“To really improve the divorce process, we need further investment in the court estate. Recruiting more judges and court staff would certainly help reduce delays and provide a less stressful experience for court users, while the wholesale removal of legal aid in matrimonial financial remedy cases in recent years has effectively meant that justice is now denied to a significant proportion of the general public. Our family justice system used to be heralded as one of the fairest and most easily accessible in the developed world but sadly that is no longer the case.”
Contact our expert Family Law team for legal advice.