Divorce should take longer says most senior female judge

By Lenore Rice

The most senior female judge in the United Kindgom, Baroness Hale of Richmond, has suggested several reforms to divorce laws, including that it should take longer for couples to separate so that issues surrounding children and the couples finances can be sorted out prior to the mortgage being granted.

Lady Hale suggests a year long 'cooling off period' once married couples decide to divorce so that they can sort out the necessary arrangements. In an interview with The Times she said:

"We should make it take longer to get a divorce and encourage people to sort out what happens to the home, children, money before, rather than after, they get a divorce."

She has also proposed removing the fault-based system that requires couples to cite one of five reasons for wanting a divorce - adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion for 2 or more years, separation with consent for at least 2 years, separation without consent for at least 5 years. Lady Hale believes this requirement results in avoidable bitterness, especially because many spouses are encouraged to cite 'unreasonable behaviour' or 'unfaithfulness' in order to have the divorce proceed more quickly.

Campaigners and divorce solicitors have supported Lady Hale's proposals, and are similarly calling for an end to the fault-based system.

If you require legal advice from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by calling 0800 840 1363.

Alternatively you can submit a contact request form online and we will call you back at a time of your convenience.