* Putting Asunder and Coming Together: Church, State and the 1969 Divorce Reforms


in Law, Law Reform and the Family

Published in print December 1998 | ISBN: 9780198268710
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683565 | DOI:
* Putting Asunder and Coming Together: Church, State and the 1969 Divorce Reforms

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In 1963, the law still denied divorce except to those who could provide evidence sufficient to convince a court of a partner's adultery or other matrimonial offence. In that year, a determined attempt was made to change the law to allow divorce where a couple had lived apart for at least seven years. The attempt failed. But less than a decade later the Divorce Reform Act 1969 allowed divorce if the parties had lived apart for two years (and both consented) or five years (if one did not consent). How did such a dramatic change come about in what, in this context, seems a remarkably short time? This chapter examines how the report of a committee set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury was used to influence opinion and provide a justification for the reform of the law in 1969. It focuses on the opinion of the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom regarding marriage and divorce.

Keywords: Archbishop of Canterbury; divorce; Divorce Reform Act 1969; law; reform; United Kingdom; Catholic Church; marriage

Chapter.  26363 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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