Couples should be able to divorce without going to court

Couples agreeing to divorce by consent should be able to arrange their own separations with a trip to the registrar rather than having to go to court, the most senior family judge in England and Wales says.

Calling for radical streamlining of matrimonial law, Sir James Munby, president of the high court’s family division, also urged ministers to give unmarried couples living together the same rights as married couples, warning that some women are being “thrown on the scrapheap” without any financial support if their relationship ends.

In a speech on Tuesday Munby said divorce proceedings should be split from the process of dividing up assets, allowing for less painful and quicker separations. “Has the time not come to legislate to remove all concepts of fault as a basis for divorce and to leave irretrievable breakdown as the sole ground?” he asked.

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