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Family Law

Burroughs Day family lawyer travels to parliament to call for No Fault Divorce

December 01, 2016

Marjha Golding-Evans, Head of Family Law at Burroughs Day, travelled to Parliament yesterday to meet with her local MP, Mark Harper – the Member of Parliament for the Forest of Dean.

Marjha was taking part in a major lobby of Parliament organised by family law organisation Resolution, who represent some 6,500 family justice professionals committed to supporting couples to reach non-confrontational resolutions to family disputes.

150 family justice professionals took part in the event – many of them, including Marjha, held meetings with their MPs to discuss the need for divorce law to be changed in a way that would allow couples to separate without having to assign blame.

Marjha Golding-Evans said:

"I was delighted to travel to parliament to support Resolution's call for a need to modernise the current grounds for divorce and to meet with Mark Harper MP.

The current legislation is sadly not fit for today's modern society; many couples are forced to find blame when completing their divorce forms, and from my personal experience as a family lawyer in Bristol and the South West, this leads to unnecessary tension and conflict. 

The proposed change to divorce law, which is supported by Resolution and its members, would allow couples to simply state that their marriage has irretrievably broken down in circumstances where they had communicated their intentions to their partner six months prior. This would avoid the need to find blame or to wait the two year period currently required.
A YouGov survey for Resolution in 2015 found that of the 67% of divorces which cited the 'fault' of unreasonable behaviour or adultery, 27% of those couples admitted the allegation wasn't true but was the easiest option for them.

Equally, many people find the delay required to formally separate an unnecessary and complicating factor, particularly when they cannot finally deal with their finances until their divorce. This anxiety creates even greater tension when most couples want to find a way to move forward, particularly when children are involved”

Resolution’s call for no fault divorce is supported by, among others, the most senior family judge in the country; the deputy president of the Supreme Court; the Family Mediation Task Force, and Relate. 

Mark Harper MP said: 

"I was pleased to meet with Marjha Golding-Evans today in parliament and hear about her experience on the frontline of working with separating couples and their families every day.

I agree that there are limitations in the current divorce legislation and look forward to working more with Marjha and with Resolution to discuss the issue further"

In a recent survey of family lawyers carried out by Resolution, over 90% agreed that divorce law needs to be modernised to allow for no fault divorce. As well as no fault divorce being a better option for separating couples, family lawyers also predicted that the change in legislation would see a rise in the use of mediation and lead to a reduction in the amount of court time spent dealing with children or financial issues relating to divorce.

Nigel Shepherd, National Chair of Resolution, said:

“I’m delighted that Marjha Golding-Evans took part in Resolution’s lobby day in Parliament.
“Divorce is already difficult enough - we don’t need it being made harder by the law pushing couples into conflict and arguments.
“It’s vital that politicians from all parties understand this and realise that it is time to act to support the many separating couples who want to divorce amicably”.

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