Cafcass supports removal of fault-based divorces
Cafcass supports the removal of fault-based divorces, to move the focus away from blame to making arrangements for the child that are in their best interests.
In our response to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on reforming the legal requirements of divorce, we expressed our strong support for the introduction of a notification process that would allow one or both divorcing parties to signal their intention to divorce without having to submit a reason for why their relationship has irretrievably broken down.
From our work with over 60,000 children whose parents go through divorce or separation proceedings each year, we see first-hand how mutual hostility between parents can become intolerable for children. This insight formed the basis of our consultation response, a summary of which is below:
- We support proposals to introduce a sole and joint notification process that can help shift the focus away from blame and on to arrangements for any child and financial matters.
- We support the removal of the right to contest, which can add to the conflict and uncertainty for children but rarely results in a change in outcome.
- We support the retention of a two-stage divorce process (decree nisi and decree absolute).
- We support a timeframe of six months from petition to decree absolute, which takes into account the child’s timescale given the impact of their parents’ separation on them will have started months or even years prior to the divorce notification.
- Early legal advice in the divorce process would be advantageous to parents to help them resolve any issues quicker and prevent problems from escalating, which is especially important given complex matters such as child arrangements and finances must be resolved.
You can read our full response here.