Last weekend, Jersey’s government launched a Facebook Live consultation with the islanders regarding their views on the island’s divorce laws, as they look to refresh them after some 70 years. The social media live chat consultation is seen as Jersey’s first step in a wide ranging consultation with the public on divorce reforms, anticipated to take place later this year.
There are anticipated to be three, main topics under review:
- Removing the current three year qualification period before a divorce petition can be filed (currently just twelve months in England and Wales).
- Creating a “no fault” divorce process, allowing parties to progress divorce proceedings without having to demonstrate that your spouse is at fault. This no fault divorce, extends to potentially allow both parties to jointly submit a divorce, which would have an impact on costs.
- Introducing a compulsory mediation process for separating couples before going to court to address disputes over the matrimonial finances.
Kristina Moore, Jersey’s Home Affairs Minister, said,”The States agreed, in principle, in 2015 that our divorce laws should be radically reformed. Our current law, the Matrimonial Causes Law 1949, is almost 70-years-old and does not reflect how people live today. Reform is long overdue. Our current system of divorce can be highly adversarial. Children and families of divorcing couples get caught up in the process and affected by the outcomes, especially where there are contested court proceedings.”
Jersey has received praise for the innovative approach to the consultation through Facebook, with some 450 participants engaging within the first ten hours of the social media chat session, which remains open until 03 February.
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