Catholic Union responds to shake up of divorce laws

The Catholic Union has called on the Government to focus on supporting marriage and family life rather than looking at plans to make divorce easier.

The Government is planning a shake up of divorce laws in England and Wales, which will remove the ability to contest a divorce and replace the requirement to produce evidence of ‘irretrievable breakdown’ with a simple statement.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords this week (Tuesday 5 February). It was the first time the Government’s proposals have been debated in Parliament. Whilst there was a lot of support for the proposals, there were a number of concerns raised in the debate. The Bishop of Carlisle, responding on behalf of the Anglican Bishops, said “this deceptively simple piece of legislation actually creates more difficulties than it resolves.”

The Bill will return to the House of Lords for committee stage next month when the proposals will be examined in detail.

Catholic Union Head of Public Affairs, James Somerville-Meikle comments: “Family breakdown is heart-breaking for people involved, but it also has a wider cost for society. Rather than just looking at plans to make divorce easier, the Government needs to look at how to strengthen marriage and family life. This means addressing some of the root causes of family breakdown.

“Many families are under huge financial pressure and struggling with the cost of living. The tax and benefits system should always support marriage and recognise the costs involved in raising children. If the Government is serious about helping families, as their manifesto states, it must scrap the arbitrary two child limit on tax credits and universal credit. This deeply unfair policy penalises larger families. It’s time to give all families the support they need.”