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A MAJOR shake-up of the divorce laws is to be shelved, the Government announced yesterday.

Ministers planned to bring in "no-fault" divorces and compul-sory counselling sessions for splitting couples next year. But pilot schemes have flopped.

Only 10 per cent of divorcing couples decided to go to the "information meetings" which would have become compulsory.

And only a handful of those attending the sessions opted to see a marriage counsellor. Nearly 40 per cent said they were even more likely than before to see a solicitor.

Because the mediation idea failed, the rest of the planned moves have been put on hold. Lord Chancellor Derry Irvine said early results had been "disappointing."

A final decision on pilot projects involving nearly 10,000 people will be made early next year.

But Lord Irvine's announcement appears to signal the death knell for most of the reforms. The changes were a key part of the controversial Family Law Act, passed in the final year of the Major Government.

The Act scrapped "quickie" divorces and pointing the finger of blame in a break-up.

Supporters argued it would reduce the bitterness between divorcing couples - particularly when children were involved.

Relate counsellor Julia Cole described yesterday's announcement as "very sad".

She said: "No-fault divorce is better for children going through divorce and also better for adults because it can help them to move on into the next part of their lives."
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Morris, Nigel
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 18, 1999
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