On Wednesday 17th June, Sir David Amess spoke in the House at the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill in favour of Fiona Bruce MP's amendment and called for more importance placed on marriage instead of divorce.
Sir David started his speech by declaring his support to Amendment 1 which “would increase the minimal legal time period for divorce to 12 months, instead of the six months proposed in the Bill”.
Family life and the sanctity of marriage have always been important to Sir David and he said “I hope that we will reflect that six months is simply too short a time to consider such life-changing decisions and make arrangements for children, housing, finances and many more things. It is extraordinary that at a time of national crisis the Government are going ahead with a Bill that will water down marriage to a six-month commitment”.
Divorces can cause families to breakdown and that can cause “poor educational attainment, antisocial and criminal behaviour, and mental health problems” Sir David explains. Merely shortening the divorce process and not helping families to stay together is not the right direction to take. Sir David explains that “it appears as if the Government are prioritising the ability easily to leave marriage, which is a bad signal, rather than encouraging some sort of commitment and stability. It seems a very strange time for our party to do that, when couples are unable - I have said this is true for one of my children - to marry due to covid-19 lockdown rules”.
Sir David concluded by saying “the Government have introduced many policies to assist families, including measures on flexible working, paid parental leave and childcare provisions, but the Bill does not seem to be family friendly. It makes it much easier for couples to separate without sufficient time for reconciliation”.