Five reasons why ‘no-fault divorce’ would be a disaster for marriage

Nov 22, 2017

A group of MPs, campaigners and journalists are attempting to undermine marriage by making it legal for either party to abandon a marriage without giving a reason.

Last week Conservative MP Suella Fernandes led a Westminster Hall debate in which she called for the introduction of so called ‘no-fault divorce’. This would make divorce an administrative process that could not be defended in court by the abandoned party.

On Friday The Times newspaper gave its support to this campaign on its front page and through its leading article (£).

Trivialising marriage

These campaigners argue that their reforms are compassionate. Instead they place the weight of the state behind the party wishing to terminate a marriage, no matter how spurious the reason. We believe that if successful the reforms will:

  1. Cause the loss of 10,000 marriages a year by making the divorce process an administrative formality and removing the breathing space which currently allows 10% of the couples who begin a divorce petition to abandon it before finalising [raw data here].
  2. Reduce the status of marriage to that of a tenancy contract which can be dissolved at minimal notice by either side with no expectation of permanence.
  3. Punish the spouse faithful to their marriage vows who could now experience, without any defence in the courts, the state terminating their marriage, dividing their family, splitting their assets and removing them from their home at minimal notice.
  4. Put the most vulnerable at risk by removing the protections in the current system for those who become disabled or suffer a financial setback and whose spouses currently cannot divorce them on this basis.
  5. Trivialise marriage as currently two consenting parties already have access to a no-fault divorce after two years. Is this really an unduly onerous period to ask people to spend cooling off and attempting to reconcile?

Speak up

Weakening and trivialising an institution does not reform it, it breaks it. Marriage is too important to be treated in this way.

The Coalition for Marriage has been the leading organisation speaking out against this change. We have spoken at the Conservative Party Conference, on television and radio, and on a documentary to be broadcast next year.

If you are able to, please do consider writing either to your Member of Parliament or to The Times newspaper to voice your opposition to these unnecessary and harmful changes.

This is an extract from one of the Coalition for Marriage’s regular communications with its supporters. If you would like to register as a marriage supporter and receive these updates, you may do so here.