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‘Reform of adversarial divorce law is overdue’

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A MAJOR consultation designed to help overhaul Jersey’s 70-year-old divorce laws – which prevents married couples from splitting until they have been married for three years – has been launched.

Home Affairs Minister Kristina Moore

The first step of the consultation started with a Facebook questionnaire through the Apptivism app. In the first ten hours of launching, more than 450 people responded.

In 2015, the Jersey Law Commission released a report which claimed the Island’s divorce law was not fit for purpose and proposed a radical overhaul, including introducing ‘no fault’ divorce legislation to allow couples to divorce without having to apportion blame.

The review also proposed removing the three-year ban on divorces.

Throughout the consultation, Islanders will also be asked whether compulsory mediation – which would require couples to attend mediation sessions to try to agree a settlement before going to court – should be introduced.

Home Affairs Minister Kristina Moore said: ‘The States agreed, in principle, in 2015 that our divorce laws should be radically reformed. Our current law, the Matrimonial Causes Law 1949, is almost 70-years-old and does not reflect how people live today. Reform is long overdue.

‘Our current system of divorce can be highly adversarial. Children and families of divorcing couples get caught up in the process and affected by the outcomes, especially where there are contested court proceedings.’

The Apptivism questionnaire can be found and completed through Facebook messengers and is due to run until Saturday 3 February.

Any changes to the divorce law would have to brought before the States and approved by Members.

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