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‘From Indissolubility of Marriage to Unilateral Divorce on Demand: A Tardy Revolution in English Family Law’

Draghici, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-2287-533X (2023). ‘From Indissolubility of Marriage to Unilateral Divorce on Demand: A Tardy Revolution in English Family Law’. Child and Family Law Quarterly(4),


This article maintains that the belated reform of divorce procedures after the implementation of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has paradoxically moved English law from the most conservative to the most liberal end of the spectrum. It provides a critical analysis of the radical features of the new divorce regime, but also of notable elements of legal continuity. Additionally, it investigates the reform process leading to the current divorce law and identifies the main themes emerging from the legislative debate; the analysis focuses on the rationale for the more controversial aspects of the new scheme, as well as on salient objections to reform, from ideological perspectives on the significance of marriage vows to anti-individualistic concerns about societal interests, innocent spouses and children’s welfare. It further considers the statistical evidence available to date to preliminarily evaluate some of the claims and predictions made in the public debate, such as the increase in divorce rates, faster divorces or the likelihood of amicable separation in the absence of an incentive to apportion blame in order to secure a divorce order. Finally, the article discusses the success of the recent reform when compared to prior attempts to introduce no-fault divorce in 1996.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: (2023) Child and Family Law Quarterly (forthcoming)
Publisher Keywords: divorce, marriage, reform, Owens, autonomy, fault
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > Institute for the Study of European Laws
The City Law School > International Law and Affairs Group
SWORD Depositor:
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