A delegation from the family law association Resolution travelled to Westminster yesterday to make their case for MPs to legislate for no-fault divorce.
150 members visited Parliament to set out their case for a change in the law, discussing their concerns about the current regime with representatives from both the House of Commons and the Lords.
Resolution has long argued that the current system, which often results in a party having to attribute blame even if they don’t want to, tends to increase arguments and makes an acrimonious break-up more likely.
The campaign for change has the support of a number of senior members of the judiciary and was recently the topic of a Commons briefing paper, but successive administrations have shown little appetite for pushing through a change in the law.
Nigel Shepherd, Resolution’s national chairman, said it was quite clear that the current legislation was “not fit” for modern society.
“Divorce is already difficult enough, we don’t need it being made harder by the law pushing couples into conflicts and arguments,” he said.
“For so many to descend on Parliament to lobby MPs and Peers shows that it is time for politicians to act, and bring an end to the blame game.”
Suzy Shepherd, who recently divorced her husband of 14 years, is among those who have expressed their dissatisfaction with current arrangements.
She felt that her only choice was to cite “unreasonable behaviour” on the divorce forms, which she wasn’t comfortable with. Her experience has convinced her that a new option of “irreconcilable differences” should be recognised under UK law.
Rebecca Amboaje, Partner in OGR Stock Denton’s family department, said: “Resolution plays an important role in campaigning for improvements to family law and the family justice system.
“It is positive that Resolution are lobbying the government on this issue and it is important that the law moves with the times and proposes changes which can be considered by Parliament so that voice of practitioners and the public who use the family justice system is heard.”
Peter Martin, head of the department, said: “Forcing people to blame the other party really does not help. Some solicitors really go ‘over the top’ in their petitions and upset the other person, which sets a bad tone for the divorce. This can then affects matters concerning both the children and finances.
“At OGR Stock Denton we always try to take a reasonable approach if possible. When people agree that they want to divorce there should be no reason why a simple petition stating that fact should not be enough.”