Judicial separation: removal of factual grounds

Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 2nd July 2019.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

Does anybody wish to participate in debate on clause 2? I do not see anyone who does. Minister, do you wish to make any concluding remarks?

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am not sure people will have the patience for me to read out all my notes on every clause.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I do feel I ought to. My notes are now all shorter than they were for clause 1. It might help Members if I make it clear for the sake of the record that clause 2 refers to the idea of judicial separation, by which a party to a marriage may obtain a judicial separation order. Judicial separation is rarely used nowadays, with fewer than 300 judicial separation petitions made annually in comparison with around 110,000 petitions for divorce. We recognise, however, that divorce is not an option for some couples because of deeply held religious or other beliefs. Judicial separation therefore continues to provide an important legal alternative for those couples, and that is why we have decided to retain it. Clause 2 broadly reflects the changes made in clause 1 and applies them to the issue of judicial separation. I commend the clause to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.