This morning Vardags Managing Director Catherine Thomas was called in to the BBC Radio 2 studios to discuss no-fault divorce on the Jeremy Vine show. A long-term advocate for no-fault divorce and supporter of the Family Law Reform campaign, Catherine debated the issue with Thomas Pascoe of the Coalition for Marriage, a Christian pressure group staunchly against the proposed change to the law.
The guest-host Paddy O’Connell introduced the issue, explaining that no-fault divorce campaigners considered the current system in England and Wales to be flawed and antiquated because of the need for couples to apportion blame should they want to divorce.
Catherine and Thomas disagreed on both counts about having both time and blame built into the system with Thomas arguing that change would weaken the institution of marriage.
Catherine in turn explained that she sees cases all the time where “civilized correspondence… becomes aggressive” because “the legal system requires it” of people. She argued this contention makes it much harder for couples to effectively co-parent, and contrary to Thomas’ attestations suggested that “if people didn’t have to start the process with this mudslinging the more people might actually stay together”.
The differences in opinion pivoted to a large degree on a value judgment about marital breakdown with Thomas implicitly adhering to the view that one of the parties must be to blame:
“I think you’ll find that the innocent party in a marriage – not the one trying to break it up, appreciates having the full court system in place because it is the only opportunity they get to show that they were loyal to their marriage vows.”
In response Catherine affirmed that everyone would be better off if the divorce process was able to start without “a huge amount of conflict”.
BBC Licence-payers can listen in for the next 29 days here.