Sir James Munby wants to allow couples quick divorce at Register Office
Divorce has always been seen as long and often tedious progress for all those involved, not only do you have to deal with the situation on a personal level, but you also have to deal with it on a public and legal level.
This long winded process has caused one of the most senior family judges within the UK, Sir James Munby, to suggest that couples should be granted “quickee” divorces via a register office. He also went to on to express his belief that divorces should be recorded the same way that births, deaths, and marriages are.
Although this approach may sound radical, Sir James Munby has stated that he thinks that only two consenting adults without any children should be allowed such swift divorces. In an interviews with The Daily Mail, the judge said: “There are countries where the system is that a divorce which is by consent and where there are no children is treated as an administrative matter dealt with by what, using our terminology, one might describe as the registrar of births, deaths, marriages and divorces. It seems to work.”
Moreover, as well as having to avoid seeking approval for your divorce from a judge, Sir James Munby has also backed having fault-free divorces, meaning that neither spouse takes the blame for the breakdown of their marriage. In addition to the removal of legally found blame, Sir James Munby has also commented on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour and adultery; it is his reasoning that both should be removed from the statute book altogether. The argument the senior judge puts forward is that irretrievable breakdown should be more than enough of a reason to seek a divorce.
Throughout his legal career, Sir James Munby has gained considerable experience and knowledge within this field of the legal system, and as such is the president of the Family Division. This section of the legal system deals with all cases surrounding custody of children and family breakups. As such, it would seem that he is fair in his commentary on how he thinks the reforms to the legal system should take place.
Nevertheless, while there are many who respect his opinions on the matter, and may even agree, there are also various critics whom argue that such a reform would lead to various abuses. Furthermore, there is then the added issue of monitoring and operating to ensure all proceedings are above board. However, cause for concern from both opposition and the general public isn’t too high considering that any divorce law change will need to receive parliamentary backing. There is also the fact that Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary, has reportedly stated that he won’t be considering any divorce law changes prior to the general election.
Family and mediation solicitor Emma Brocklebank said: “Marriage is a legally binding contract which should not be entered into lightly. In my view, Divorce is a life changing decision and not just a tick box exercise. It is the process by which a marriage contract is dissolved and as such, I would say, should remain a legal process rather than merely an administrative exercise.
A solely administrative process of divorce (where there are no children and both parties consent to a divorce) could be open to abuse and to decisions being made in haste and regretted later. I would expect there would need to be a “cooling off” period to allow divorcing couples to fully consider and reflect upon their decision and application.
As regards the idea of “no fault divorce”, I believe this would be helpful and right for some divorcing couples to enable them to move on from the breakdown of the marriage amicably, allowing them to concentrate on arrangements for any children and financial settlement.”
The editorial unit