The Divorce May Not Be Your Fault
After already being an active part of the current family law overhaul, Sir James Munby has commented again on the state of family law calling for more changes.
Sir Munby Called for More Reforms
England’s leading family law judge has pushed for more rights for cohabiting couples who split, and the right for couples to bypass the court system all together, divorcing through their local registrar.
It was Sir Munby that pushed for the changes we are seeing now in terms of the implementation of the new single family court and making mediation a necessity for all parties in financial and child proceedings. It would seem that his new comments further expand on what is already being done and aims to reflect the changes that we see in society in terms of the nature of family.
An End to Blame Divorce Culture
No fault divorces were also a change he hoped would be made in the future, taking the sting of blame out of divorces and allowing them to sidestep dragging the process though a court and before a judge. Currently, those who want a divorce must prove that their partner has shown unreasonable behaviour if they want a swift divorce. In doing so, couples would not have to satisfy 1 of the other divorce criteria that may well lead to an even more hostile relationship as the process is put through the system.
He also aimed to highlight the plight of women who give up their careers during long term relationships only to find themselves “thrown on the scrapheap” when the relationship breaks down.
Unmarried couples currently account for half of all breakdowns in a family involving children. Putting some kind of provision in place to allow financial stability for both parties and their children would be ideal. However, The Marriage Foundation has pointed out that in such instances it may be “illiberal” to thrust such responsibility on unmarried couples who did not make such a commitment.
How Will the Vulnerable Be Protected?
One of the problems that we identified with these proposed plans is that removing divorce from the court sphere may leave some parties open to abuse. Marriage after all if a legally binding contract, it should therefore be dissolved with the help of sound legal advice, as the outcome will affect your future.
We asked Emma Pearmaine, Partner and Head of Family Law at Simpson Millar LLP what she thought of the reforms:
“The changes to divorce proposed by Sir James Munby reflect the overall approach of the judiciary further to the new implementation of a single family court and imposing mediation on parties in financial and children proceedings.
Sir James is suggesting a removal of fault and blame which would surely encourage parties in separation to a more amicable and conciliatory approach to finances and children. Whether divorce should be removed from the court arena itself is of concern, and might lead to difficulties for more vulnerable parties.”