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Still No Date For No-Fault Divorce

There is still no timescale for when Jersey will bring in no-fault divorce.

Four years after a consultation asked islanders for their views on introducing no-fault divorce here, it still has not been brought in.

71% of people who responded said they were in favour of couples being able to end their marriage without either spouse having to prove wrongdoing.

A no-fault divorce law took effect in England and Wales yesterday (6 April)

The first overhaul of the legislation in 50 years puts an end to the so-called "blame game" for couples wishing to split amicably..

It was announced in September 2020 that work on introducing it had been postponed 'because of Covid pressures'.

"The work on divorce reform has been deferred due to COVID-19 pressures including the inability to recruit additional mediators and additional pressures on the Law Drafting Office meaning it has not been possible to secure law drafting time for changes to legislation."

The Jersey Law Commission and family lawyers have previously expressed disappointment at the lack of progress.

Barbara Corbett from Corbett Le Quesne said in 2020 that not progressing reforms on the divorce law is not putting children first.

"Many relationship difficulties cause people stress and anxiety which puts pressure on mental health services and generally causes harm to people which could be removed by fairly straightforward processes."

A spokesperson for Jersey's government says it will be for the next States Assembly to take on the work that has been done do far:

"No-fault divorce has not yet been brought forward in law in Jersey, but work has been undertaken to allow this to happen in future, in the event the Assembly agrees to do so.

This will include both no-fault divorce and new legal provisions that will better enable divorcing couples to agree financial matters, and matters relating to the care of their children, using alternative dispute resolution methods.

The time-frame for this work will need to be agreed post-election."

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