Guernsey proposes changes to 'modernise' divorce laws

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The changes will "reduce conflict" during separations by removing the need to assign fault in divorce proceedings

Guernsey has proposed changes to marriage laws in order to "modernise" divorce and separation proceedings.

The reforms include bringing in no-fault divorce, simplifying annulment procedures and removing the ability for people to contest divorce proceedings.

They are expected to be put to a vote in the States in early-2020.

A majority of the public were supportive of reforming divorce law in a consultation held between March and April.

The changes follow a 2015 resolution by the States which outlined the need to reform the law.

'Reduce conflict'

Current law requires fault to be assigned to either party in divorce, which the States say can have "long-lasting negative implications" for divorcing couples as it can "exacerbate conflict" in separations.

Existing legislation means one of five faults must be proven before a divorce can take place.

These faults include adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, two years of consensual separation or five years of non-consensual separation.

Gavin St Pier, president of the island's senior Policy and Resources Committee, said the proposals would simplify and "reduce conflict" in the process of separation.

Deputy St Pier said the legislation would ensure the law was "modern, inclusive and ensures vulnerable parties are safeguarded".

"The break-up of a marriage is difficult for all involved... we want to make sure the process removes as much stress as possible under the circumstances," he added.

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