MMBFD #13 Social Policy Changes in the Law and Divorce

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  • Social Policy Changes in the Law and Divorce
    • 1984
      • Matrimonial Family Proceedings Act
        • It didn't come into effect until 1985
        • This act reduced from three years to one the time a couple had to be married before they could petition for a divorce
    • 20th century
      • First half of the 20th sentury
        • The finical burden of divorce was eased for the less well-off by the Legal Aid and Advice Act 949 which provided free legal advice and paid solicitors fees for those who could not afford them
        • A series of acts simplifies divorce proceedings, reduced the cost involved and widened the grounds for divorce
    • 1971
      • Divorce Reform Act
        • It defined the grounds for divorce as "the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage".
        • Emphasised the idea of matrimonial offence and so avoided the need for "guilty parties".
        • This made divorce considerably easier and accounts in part for the dramatic raise in the number of divorces In 1971
    • 1857
      • A private Act of Parliment
        • At least one person had to be proven guilty of one of these offenses however even though divorce fees had been greatly reduced they were still very expensive
        • The grounds for divorce included adultery, cruelty and desertion
        • In 1857 the Matrimonial Causes Act set up a new court for divorce
        • This private act was required to obtain a divorce in Britain
        • This was expensive and complicated procedure beyond the means of all but the most wealthy
    • 1969
      • Divorce Reform Act
        • Involved a major change in the grounds of divorce
        • Before the Act, a "matrimonial offence" had to be proven and a "guilty party" had to be found
        • However many people who wanted a divorce had not committed adultery been guilty of cruelty and so on
        • The  1969 Act
          • Defined the grounds for divorce as "the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage"
          • It was no longer necessary to prove guilt to simply show the marriage was beyond repair
          • The Act came into force in January 1971 and was followed by a rapid rise in divorce rate
    • 1984
      • new legislation reduced the period a couple needed to be married before they could petition for divorce from three years to one year
    • 1996
      • Family Law Act..
        • Instead, the partners simply had to assert the marriage had broken down and undergo a "period of reflection" to consider whether a reconciliation was possible.
        • These included the ending of the reliance upon showing that ne or both partners were at fault in order to prove that the marriage had broken down
        • The act also encouraged greater use of medication, however, after trials most of these measures were delayed indefinitely and have not been implanted.
        • Provided a number of new measures.
    • Despite a reduction in costs, divorce was till an expensive option during the first half of the 20th century, this was eased more recently with the extension of welfare provision particularly for single parents with dependant children
    • The economics of divorce were further eased by the extensions of welfare provisions, particularly for single parents with dependents.
    • The Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 provided for absent parents to contribute a fixed proportion of their take-home pay towards maintenance costs.


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