Monday, November 17, 2008

Tory Reform Plans

As has been widely reported (see, for example, here), the Conservative party is likely to adopt a set of proposals to reform family law in this country, with the aim of 'strengthening families'. The proposals include the following:
  • Making it more difficult to divorce - I've not seen any detail of how they propose to do this, but it seems to fly in the face of recent trends towards no-fault divorce.
  • Making pre-nuptial agreements binding - something that is likely to happen anyway in the not-too-distant future, although I'm not sure that this will in fact encourage more people to get married save, perhaps, amongst the super-rich.
  • Preventing children losing contact with their fathers and grandparents - a laudable aim, but how?
  • Making divorce settlements 'more consistent' - does this entail doing away with our discretionary system?
  • Setting up a network of 'family relationship centres', which can help separating or divorcing couples. A nice idea (although I'm not sure how it will differ from Relate), but where is the funding going to come from?
  • Scrapping plans to give property rights to cohabitees, which are seen to undermine marriage - going against Labour policy that families of all kinds are equally viable, and that marriage is merely a 'lifestyle choice'.


  1. I hate to poop on Cameron's parade but - what a waste of time.

    If (and it's a big if) we can be certain that strengthening traditional marriage is a way to mend our supposedly broken Britain, I can't see a lot there that's going to make a big difference.

    Someone needs to sit down and figure out why marriages end rather than simply putting more obstacles in the way of divorce ... unless it's been shown that unhappy, warring parents are better for a child than peaceful, amicable, separated ones.

    As for the financial changes ... what proportion of us don't marry because we're worried we'll do badly out of the financial settlement from a possible divorce?

    In short: pah!

  2. Yes, that pretty well sums it up!

  3. i can't help thinking firstly, that if they want to stop people divorcing, maybe they should make it harder for people to marry in the first place! rather than making people who have already made a huge mistake, continue to live miserably within that mistake, wouldn't it be better to help them to NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE IN THE FIRST PLACE??

    i'm not against marriage. but many of us, blindly, with love tinted spectacles fall into it with hardly a thought. and when mine became abusive and intolerable, rather than staying and letting my children get caught up in it, i left.

    after 6 years i still don't have a divorce, as it's too difficult and expensive (i live in turkey), but i will. and now my ex-partner is calm enough too to probably not fight as hard after our long seperation.

    if i had had more rights to co-habit i may not have ended up so stuck in the first place! and my ex, myself and my children would be a lot better off!

    in the end though it is our individual right to make such a life changing decision ourselves and i do not believe anyone has the right... and certainly not politicians, to make anyone stay in unhappy relationships. let alone penalise anyone who doesn't wish to sign anything just to be allowed to live and have sex with someone they love.

    it's just ludicrous.

  4. Well, I suppose someone has to stick up for the ideas.

    I do so, but don't want to be forced to marry either.

    I had an economic insentive to marry by my ex father in law to marry (deposit for house). Biggest mistake I ever made.

    If people are to Marry (can't see why), then let them have pre nups.

    Don't bribe and threaten them. Personally I think the institution is dead. Probably as a result of feminism and that is no bad thing as was a male institution, hence women do the no fault divorces.

  5. I think they have a point in that Divorce is why people aren't marrying either. The laws are unfair. Pre and post nups and I might give it another go with my lady.

    Still not sure why though. Anyone any ideas? I suppose you right your own reasons as vows in the pre nup and they are interchangeable, bloody good idea. Will vote for them (providing they don't do the married person's tax allowance or a variation of) to force me economically to Marry, then I vote against them.

  6. 'you right your own reasons as vows in the pre nup and they are interchangeable, bloody good idea'

    I mean, you write your own vows which mean something in law rather than the vows you get when you marry at the moment which count for nothing legally.

    No to tax brackets being donated from one spouse to the other, not without all parents getting that.

  7. Thanks for that, err... cptn. Can't say I agree with all you say, but I appreciate the input.

  8. Didn't the number of marriage breakdowns peak in 1993 when the Conservatives were in power?

  9. I am not a Tory. I think the no. marriage break-ups is less important than the number of people getting married. Which is at an all time low.

    Unless you are in the Divorce industry like you two and can't see past your self-interest. In a bit of a hurry this morning and no time to beat about the bush, sugar the pill, whatever. Given more time I would have tidied-up my earlier posts but I think I made my points.

    Pre Nups (which over-rule) the CSA (to be scrapped) have to be the way to go to save this broken society.

  10. Maybe Marriage isn't dead, perhaps just in crisis and will be sorted-out and number of them will rise again if policies like these are implemented. I do think feminism has helped towards this situation, and for that I am grateful as living with my ex was hell and we are all (inc. the children) better away from that.

  11. So, brush up on your pre and post nups John, it looks like it's where the money is in the industry in the future. My Great grandfather and his brothers (5 of them) were KIA in WW1 also leaving 2 sisters. I remember them often also. All the best, off now.

  12. Isn't the problem that divorce is just too easy, and our culture is heading towards, if not already there, a view of 'I am alright jack and sod you'

    A lot of people when confronted with difficulties in a marriage rather than try and sort it out, look at the benefits system, CSA, keep the house because of the kids, and then think, 'Well, what have I got to lose?'

    If they will pump money into Relate then I am all for that. Prenups won't apply to most people except the rich, (how unromantic)



  13. Fiona: I think they did. :-)

    cptn: Brushing up on pre- and post-nups now!

    Swizz: You may have a point.

  14. Very much agree with the sentiments on this topic.

    The problem is that making divorce harder may discourage people to marry.

    There is a lot to be said for sdoing nothing - I'm a bit sick of the "something must be done" when the "something" turns out to be the quick fix. Maybe the answer the family centre with ready facilities to help parties who are thinking of separating. But this is expensive nd there probably aren't too many votes of Daily Mail headlines in this.


  15. My typing is rotten - sorry about that.

    should have been "votes or Daily Mail headlines"


  16. I agree entirely about the "something must be done" mentality.


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