Examination of Witnesses

Part of Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:28 am on 2nd July 2019.

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Nigel Shepherd:

I am happy to do so. I think the 1996 Act was extremely complicated. This Bill has the beauty of simplicity, and for the right reason: it concentrates on the principal problem of the fault-based system. The 1996 Act introduced various things such as information meetings and different periods for different situations where there were children or a dispute about the divorce. I think it got wrapped up with those complications, so it was never implemented. It has taken a long time to get where we are today.

I also think that public attitudes have changed considerably. I think people are looking for autonomy and to say, “We are adults, and if one of us believes that the marriage is over, we should have a dignified, constructive way of ending it that focuses on the future, not the past.”