Four in ten couples will be able to divorce faster under new law

No more ‘splitting’ headaches! Four in ten separating couples will be able to divorce faster thanks to new law

  • More than 40 per cent of divorcing couples will benefit from change in rules 
  • The wait for divorce will be abolished and it can be completed in just six months
  • Study shows 43 per cent of couples divorce via rules meaning they wait years

More than four in ten separated couples will divorce years earlier under reforms being pushed through Parliament, according to research. 

The study showed that 43 per cent of divorcing couples – around 40,000 a year – end their marriages under separation rules that mean they wait years before their breakup is legally complete. 

But under the Government’s divorce-on-demand regime, the wait for divorce will be abolished and the process can be completed in only six months. 

Under the current law, which dates from 1969, if there is no allegation of adultery or unreasonable behaviour, a couple can be divorced after two years of separation if both agree, and after five years if only one wants to end the marriage [File photo]

The effect of the reforms was revealed in research by the Hall Brown Family Law firm. It renewed concerns that ‘the fastest divorce system in the world’ will see numbers increase.

Backers of the reforms said many couples will benefit both in terms of a less conflicted breakup and more financial security. 

The changes will take the principle of fault from marriage law, so that adultery or unreasonable behaviour will no longer be causes for divorce. 

Instead, anyone who wants a divorce will make a statement that their marriage has irretrievably broken down, and their spouse will not be able contest the claim. 

Alongside the principle of fault, the new law will abolish waiting periods.

In 1998, some 22 per cent of couples who divorced ended their marriages after two years of separation, but in 2018 it was 27 per cent. In the same period, the number of couples who waited five years rose from seven to 16 per cent [File photo] [File photo]

Under the current law, which dates from 1969, if there is no allegation of adultery or unreasonable behaviour, a couple can be divorced after two years of separation if both agree, and after five years if only one wants to end the marriage. 

In 1998, some 22 per cent of couples who divorced ended their marriages after two years of separation, but in 2018 it was 27 per cent. 

In the same period, the number of couples who waited five years rose from seven to 16 per cent. 

The study showed that 43 per cent of divorcing couples – around 40,000 a year – end their marriages under separation rules that mean they wait years before their breakup is legally complete. A stock image is used above [File photo]

The figures mean that 43 per cent of couples waited two years or more for their divorce. 

The speed-up in divorce will come as numbers of couples who end their marriages in England and Wales is at a 50-year low. 

There were fewer than 92,000 divorces in 2018, the first time numbers were below 100,000 since 1972. Divorce rates boomed in the early 1970s following the liberal reforms of 1969.

James Brown, of Hall Brown, said the figures showed ‘couples are avoiding fault-based divorce. ‘When there is a delay, there is also a gap between leaving a marriage and re-establishing financial security. 

Colin Hart, of the Coalition for Marriage group, said: ‘These figures indicate that more than four in every 10 divorces could be hastened by years leading to a dramatic increase in number of and speed of divorces. 

‘Official statistics show 10,000 divorces a year are abandoned. The Government should seek to save saveable marriages rather than grease the tracks to divorce.’ 

There were fewer than 92,000 divorces in 2018, the first time numbers were below 100,000 since 1972. Divorce rates boomed in the early 1970s following the liberal reforms of 1969 [File photo]

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Kristen Bell Will Host Coronavirus Town Hall to Educate Kids

Getting involved! Kristen Bell is stepping up to help children better understand the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Good Place alum, 39, will host the #KidsTogether: The Nickelodeon Town Hall on Monday, March 30. The hour-long event will address COVID-19 concerns head on, while providing tips and insight on the matter from experts. Bell will speak with medical workers via video chat and families, who will open up about their personal experiences with the outbreak.

Bell won’t be the only major name appearing in the educational special. Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Ciara, Russell Wilson, Josh Gad and Charli D’Amelio are scheduled to stop by as well. Meanwhile, Alicia Keys is set to perform.

“It’s so important to remember that we are all in this together, and our kids and loved ones need outlets to help them process and understand what’s going on and, most importantly, to still feel connected,” the Veronica Mars actress told Entertainment Weekly on Friday, March 27. “I hope kids and families come away from this special feeling a little more comfortable and that they enjoy some much-needed moments of humor during this difficult time.”

Bell has been on a giving streak amid the coronavirus outbreak. Following reports that the Frozen II star and her husband, Dax Shepard, were waiving April rent for tenants residing in the building they own, she opened up about why the couple chose to do so.

“It was a no-brainer,” Bell said while calling into the Bobby Bones Show on Friday, March 27. “People over profit, always.”

Bell has been very vocal about raising awareness about the coronavirus outbreak via social media. She has also taken to social media to share cute bonding moments with her and the 45-year-old “Armchair Expert” podcast host’s daughters Lincoln, 6, and Delta, 5. On Tuesday, March 24, she posted a photo of her youngest child’s proposed solution to combating the COVID-19 virus.

“Well folks, she’s done it,” Bell captioned an Instagram photo of Delta holding a tube filled with a green liquid. “Don’t get me wrong, she has more trials to do to assure its efficacy — but my 5 yr old just came into my bedroom with a vial full of colored water and told me ‘I just made the vaccine for coronavirus!’”

Bell’s #KidsTogether: The Nickelodeon Town Hall will air across Nickelodeon, TeenNick and Nicktoons on Monday, March 30, at 7 p.m. ET. Thereafter, it will be available to stream on Nick On Demand, the Nick App, Nickelodeon’s official YouTube page and through Nickelodeon’s Pluto TV channel.

Given the constantly evolving nature of COVID-19, Us Weekly wants our readers to have access to the most accurate resources. For the most up-to-date coronavirus information, guidance and support, consult the CDC, WHO and information from local public health officials. If you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, call your primary care provider for medical advice.

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'Black Widow' Will Tie Back to a Critical Scene from 'The Avengers'

For more than a decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been captivating audiences with a world full of costumed heroes. Avengers: Endgame, of course, served as the final curtain call for several key figures in the MCU. But the benefit of having such a broad tapestry on which to tell your stories is the ability to fill in any lingering narrative gaps later on.

Case in point, Black Widow kicks off the MCU’s Phase 4, despite the death of Scarlett Johansson’s character in Avengers: Endgame. The film — as we’ve known for a while — will take place during the two-year gap between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

Now we’ve learned this glimpse into Natasha Romanoff’s personal history will pay off a reference set up years earlier.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has alluded to Black Widow’s past

Throughout the MCU, Black Widow has made no secret of her dark past. In fact, it underscores every heroic action she takes in the movies. Because she was trained as a Russian assassin, Natasha has a lot to atone for. At first, she does this by working for S.H.I.E.L.D., only to find out that too is corrupt. Then Natasha turns her attention to the Avengers full time.

By the time Avengers: Endgame rolls around, she’s essentially the last hero still staying on mission. And she ultimately gives her life in service of that mission. But even though Black Widow is dead, the MCU looks to give the character her due and explore the past only hinted at in movies like Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Fans so far have only seen highlights of what Natasha’s life was like pre-S.H.I.E.L.D. But she has a particularly telling conversation midway through The Avengers. In an intense scene between Natasha and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the god of mischief taunts Black Widow about her past deeds. As it turns out, something Loki mentions will directly play into Black Widow.

The film will directly address her chat with Loki from ‘The Avengers’

Among the actions Loki references, he mentions “Dreykov’s daughter.” Presumably, Natasha wound up taking the life of Dreykov’s daughter, since that was her specialty. But Dreykov himself has never again been mentioned or referenced. Now, according to Empire magazine (via Marvel Studios News), Dreykov will appear in Black Widow.

Actor Ray Winstone (The Departed) was already confirmed as part of the cast. But it seems he will be playing Dreykov, who is head of the Red Room where Black Widow was trained. Fans may remember glimpses of this facility in Avengers: Age of Ultron amid Natasha’s visions. No word yet if her trainer, Madame B. (Julie Delpy), will factor into Black Widow as well.

When the film was announced, fans assumed Black Widow would explore dark corners of the character’s past. But by the sounds of it, Natasha will be dealing with several key figures from her life in Russia. Perhaps Dreykov is on the warpath for what happened to his daughter. Maybe he’s connected to the villainous Taskmaster. Or maybe he only shows up in flashback.

Will ‘Black Widow’ also play into the MCU’s long-term future?

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess how Black Widow will piece together the broken shards of Natasha’s former life. Will audiences learn anything new about the oft-referenced Budapest incident involving Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)? Will any other Avengers make an appearance?

And perhaps the best question: how will Black Widow affect the rest of Phase 4? Marvel Studios is usually very intentional about building its stories one piece at a time. So, even though Black Widow is largely an interquel between other movies, surely it will also plant seeds that factor into future releases.

With the film’s May 2020 release date canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, fans will have to wait a bit longer to see Black Widow for themselves.

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