Monday 23 December 2019
The States of Guernsey have published proposals setting out to reform divorce, annulment and judicial separation proceedings that are expected to be debated by the States of Deliberation in early 2020.
If agreed, the proposed reforms led by the Policy & Resources Committee will require the Matrimonial Causes Reform Law (Guernsey), 1939, to be repealed and replaced. The review of the law was prioritised by the States of Guernsey as part of the Policy & Resource Plan in 2017, in support of achieving the 'One Community: inclusive and committed to social justice' outcome.
The proposals aim to modernise, simplify and make the current legislation more inclusive and reflective of modern society. The proposals include introducing a form of no-fault divorce, removing the ability to contest divorce and modernising the grounds for annulment. The suggested reforms to the law were supported by the majority of the public who responded to the consultation held in early 2019.
Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy & Resources Committee, said:
"By simplifying the process to try and reduce conflict and by ensuring that our legislation in this area is modern, inclusive and ensures vulnerable parties are safeguarded we will provide an appropriate support mechanism to couples who have made the decision to end their marriages. The break-up of a marriage is difficult for all involved and while no one can remove the pain that comes with it, we want to make sure the process removes as much stress as possible under the circumstances."