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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David Hodson:

It went into Parliament a fairly good piece of legislation; the perception of many lawyers is that it came out vastly more complicated. It went in with a nine-month period of notice—the structure was the same—but it came out, as Nigel said, with a two or three-stage process. Eighteen months was almost the minimum; if there were children, that went up to 21 months. There was even a provision that it could be further.

The general perception was that it made it far more difficult; although there were media headlines about an easier divorce, everyone knew that it would make it far more difficult as it made it longer. To a certain extent, a longer divorce does not help the public, so there was not too much unhappiness that that particular model as it came out of Parliament did not go through. Why it never went through is a political matter, which perhaps is another matter. The length of the period was the primary problem with the legislation as it came out of Parliament—it was far too long.