While the Government at Westminster is rushing through the biggest shake-up to divorce law in England and Wales for 50 years, another European country is moving in a very different direction.
Denmark has one of the highest rates of divorce in Western Europe, and until recently it also had some of the most liberal divorce laws. Couples could divorce simply by applying online, with no involvement with the court and no waiting period.
Liberal divorce law was damaging children
Danish politicians took notice of the damage of such a liberal law, particularly on children, and earlier this year introduced reforms that will require Danish parents with children under 18 to undertake an online course and wait 3 months until they can proceed with the divorce.
The course is called ‘Samarbejde Efter Skilsmisse’ (‘Co-operation After Divorce’) and contains 17 modules in a number of areas including helping parents to consider the impact of the divorce on their children and planning well for the future, Evangelical Focus reported last week.
A stark contrast
In contrast, the proposed reforms for England and Wales would remove any requirement to give a reason as to why a marriage has ended and is entirely silent on mediation, counselling or a course like the one just introduced in Denmark.
The experience in Denmark shows that making divorce easier and quicker will not lead to positive outcomes. The law must ensure that divorce is a considered process, with due time for reflection.
MPs must act before its too late
Of course, MPs could just push ahead and allow this legislation to be rushed through. But to do so would be extremely unwise. MPs must ask themselves, is the Government’s divorce bill achieving its aims? There is an opportunity for MPs to put a pause on the Government’s plans now, rather than picking up the pieces in two decades time.