From this month, there are eleven new ‘divorce centres’ around the country and the opening of them has certainly made the media sit up and take notice.
The centres’ purpose is to streamline uncontested divorces, which will be staffed by legal advisors, making divorce very much more an administrative process than it has been before.
Some have already criticised the process in saying that it makes marriage more trivial.
For instance former Government Minister, and Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Ann Widdecombe has said making it into an admin process is similar to “discarding an old carrier bag”.
However, this really is not the case. It will be no easier to break up than before, but instead it is all about saving court time, money, and making what has been a laborious system more efficient.
Society is thankfully moving towards the attitude that divorce should not be acrimonious, with seething couples battling for years, destroying all around them.
Legally divorce is in essence a paper exercise, which should not involve judges, who are in great demand, particularly with an increase in the number of unrepresented parties in court due to legal aid cuts.
It just doesn’t make sense to have these highly-qualified people making sure forms are filled out correctly.
So, as we have already said, these reforms do not water down marriage.
The main factor of divorce is not form filling, but the pain that a relationship intended to be for a lifetime has failed.
It is an incredibly tough time for those involved and to make it as painless as possible for all has to be a good thing.
Despite a more efficient court, judges will still be called upon to make the big decisions in divorce. For instance, apart from overseeing the granting of divorce decrees, they will also be there to help resolve financial disputes, and also make decisions over the arrangements for children where agreement cannot be reached between the two parties.
So overall, we believe the reforms have to be welcomed as anything that can make any process less bureaucratic in an era of reams of red tape is welcome.