In a recent conference, the retiring family judge, Sir Paul Coleridge outlined his view that current divorce and financial provision laws were no longer fit for purpose. Sir Paul suggested that the existing Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 was ‘designed in a wholly different era to deal with a wholly different society and way of life.’
It should be noted that for many years, organisations such as Resolution have been campaigning for the introduction of ‘no fault’ divorce. This would avoid much of the antagonism that comes with a divorce based upon allegations of unreasonable behaviour or adultery. Pressure upon the government to reform divorce law is likely to continue but whether they will listen is another issue altogether.
In other comments, Sir Paul also highlighted that the days of expensive and prolonged court battles for family cases are now surely numbered. He promoted the use of alternative dispute resolution measures such as mediation and arbitration as a more sophisticated and cost-effective way to resolve cases.