MCA (1973)

The Matrimonial causes Act (1973) remains the law on divorce in GB despite attempts by various governments at ‘reform’ . I was reminded of this after I began to refresh my knowledge of the subject when a local roofer asked me to act for him.

It used to be a basic in constitutional law that no minority government should ever attempt to legislate on a moral issue. Surprisingly this good advice has been ignored from time to time. A useful starting point when it comes to divorce might be to discover how many MPs in the parliamentary party are Catholics. This is often overlooked. Anyway, the idea of divorce reform is to remove the notion of ‘fault’. Actually a review of cases based on the ’73 act shows that fault rarely features. The example we were taught when it did, was where the wife (respondent) shot the plaintiff. The judge took a dim view of that. ‘Fault’ can really be interpreted as ‘grounds’ for divorce. Taking away grounds doesn’t mean people will cease blaming each other. So far no attempt at reform has succeeded.

Interestingly my local County Court doesn’t do divorces any more; petitions all go to Bury St Edmunds. This reminds me of the story about how Mrs Simpson sneaked off to Bury for a divorce. Naturally the press found out what she was up to and in a masterpiece of sub editing a US newspaper did the following in seven words. It told us: who she was, her relationship with Edward VIII, what she was doing there, and something interesting about Bury St Edmunds (the latter would have been especially difficult). it read:

‘King’s Moll Renoe’d in Wolsley’s Home Town’

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