Jersey debating divorce law reform on social media
One of our very close neighbours has taken the step of launching a social media consultation on divorce law. The States of Jersey has asked islanders for their views on whether Jersey’s 70-year-old divorce laws need to change.
A live chat was recently launched on Facebook through an app called Apptivism.je. Apptivism runs through Facebook Messenger and has been designed to give people a chance to share their opinions without having to attend a meeting. Islanders are being asked to click on a link to join an interactive conversation, which takes around three minutes. They can then share their views, compare their answers with other users and leave any comments they might have on specific issues.
The live chat was the first step in a major public consultation on divorce reform that will take place during this year. The main issues islanders are being asked to comment on include:
- Removing the three year bar on divorce – at the moment you have to be married for three years before filing for divorce.
- Moving to ‘no fault divorce’ – where you can file for divorce without having to prove that your husband or wife was at fault.
- Joint filing for divorce.
- Introducing ‘compulsory mediation’ – couples could potentially be required to attend mediation to try and agree their divorce settlement before instructing lawyers and going to court.
During the first ten hours of the live chat over 450 Facebook users responded. From the UKs’ perspective it will be interesting to see what the outcomes of the consultation will be and whether this might prompt our own government to look at whether divorce law in England and Wales also needs reform.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.