The Nuffield Foundation commissioned Professor Elizabeth Trinder to conduct this study. The research team at OnePlusOne were proud to work with Professor Trinder to complete this influential study.
This is the first empirical study since the 1980s into how divorce law in England and Wales is operating. Following the completion of the report, the government has launched a consultation into reforming divorce law.
The calls for divorce law reform have been steadily growing louder over the last few decades. The Family Law Act 1996 enacted a ‘no-fault’ divorce regime but logistical challenges meant that this was never implemented. The high use of ‘behaviour’ petitions – where one spouse is required to lay blame at the door of the other – can provoke unnecessary hostility and make things worse for children caught in the middle. This has long been clear to many couples going through divorce, as well as the lawyers, judges, and relationship counsellors involved. The study brought this into the light.
The research included interviews with people going through divorce, focus groups with lawyers, observation of the court scrutiny process, and analysis of divorce court files, together with a national opinion poll and comparative analysis of divorce law in other countries. The findings and recommendations are being closely scrutinised by government policy makers.