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20 FEB 2006

Scotland - Reducing the Wait or Prolonging the Agony?

Penny Booth, Reader in Law, Staffordshire University. In December 2005 there were reports from the Scottish media of plans in the Scottish Parliament to reduce the time needed for divorce from 5 years to 2 years if contested, and from 2 years to 1 year if uncontested (reported in The Scotsman, 16 December 2005). This reduction of the waiting time for divorce in Scotland is interesting for the rest of the UK and a development worth following, perhaps not literally, but to see whether such a reduction it is acceptable to the population and what outcomes may result from debate.

The author says that the wait may be reduced, but unless couples can work their way through the issues that have destroyed their marriage, then the reduction in waiting time will only help to prolong the agony of their next relationship, whether married or cohabiting, by not allowing them to address the issues that have undermined the success of the previously failed one - even if it is not possible to 'save' the marriage itself. The author also notes that a reduction in waiting time may appear to have certain attractions for some individuals. After all, when a marriage is over it is over. The article also briefly refers to other items of interest in the Family Law Bill in Scotland. See March [2006] Fam Law 227 for the full article.

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