22 January 2018
Jersey’s divorce laws could be radically reformed in an overhaul of the outdated legislation.
A social media consultation has been launched which asks islanders for their views on whether Jersey’s 70-year-old divorce laws need to change.
This weekend, a live chat was launched on Facebook, through the Apptivism.je app, and in the first ten hours over 450 Facebook users responded.
The live chat is the first step in a major public consultation on divorce reform that will take place during this year.
The main issues include:
• Removing the three year bar on divorce - at the moment you have to be married for three years before filing for divorce.
• Moving to ‘no fault divorce’ – where you can file for divorce without having to prove that your husband or wife was a fault.
• Joint filing for divorce.
• Introducing ‘compulsory mediation’ – couples could potentially be required to attend mediation to try and agree their divorce settlement before instructing lawyers and going to court.
Home Affairs Minister Kristina Moore 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.”
Deputy Moore added that divorce can have a major impact on the family and community.
“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,’ she said.
Islanders are being asked to share their views through the Apptivism.je, on Facebook, which is due to run until 3 February. Apptivism runs through Facebook Messenger and it has been designed to give people a chance to share their opinions without having to attend a meeting.
Islanders can click on a link to join an interactive conversation, which takes around three minutes.
They can share their views, compare their answers to how other users have responded and leave any comments they might have on specific issues.
Some of the questions they will be asked in this consultation are:
• Did you know that you have to be married for three years before you can get divorced in Jersey?
• Do you think that this three year rule should change?
• Do you think that Jersey should introduce a ‘no fault divorce’ where a couple or either party can end the marriage without having to specify the reasons why?
• Do you think that Jersey should introduce compulsory mediation?