• The latest official divorce form issued by the Government has faced criticism as it asks for parties to “name and shame” adulterers.
  • Launched in August 2017, the new form features a number of new additions, but it is the section that calls for the name “of the person your spouse has committed adultery with”, that has sparked controversy.
  • The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has stressed that people seeking a divorce in England and Wales are under “no obligation” to complete the specific section of the form but groups believe the way the form is drafted encourages the so-called ‘blame game’ in divorce proceedings.

At a Glance:

Section 8 of the new official divorce form, launched by the Government in August 2017, suggests parties should “name and shame” adulterers. The move, which has resulted in calls for change by organisations such as Resolution, asks for the name of the person that the spouse committed adultery with but in response the MoJ has said that parties are under no obligation to complete the section. Despite this, groups still feel that this new addition to the form reinforces the blame culture that surrounds divorce.


The Details:

A new divorce form launched by the Government is facing criticism from far and wide after it was found to include a section inviting the writer to “name and shame” adulterers.

The new-look form, which was launched last month, features a number of revisions over those previously used in  England and Wales when applying for a divorce.

A report by BBC News reveals that one such change invites those seeking a divorce to give the name “of the person your spouse has committed adultery with.”

The prompt, which features in Section 8 of the form, appropriate to “adultery cases only”, has attracted much criticism in the legal community amid concerns that it could lead to a surge in the number of Britons accused of adultery.

Family law group Resolution has voiced concerns that involving a third party in any divorce cases will inevitably add “conflict and complexity” to proceedings.

In response to the criticisms, The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has stressed that people seeking a divorce in England and Wales are under “no obligation” to complete the specific section of the form that has attracted so much media attention in recent weeks.

But a spokesperson on behalf of Resolution has warned that those filling in a divorce form will instinctively feel obliged to provide an answer to the question regardless.

“Because the box is there, the inclination will be to fill it in,” they said.

Other experts have echoed Resolution’s concerns, arguing that most people are unlikely to read the small print or choose to ignore the question completely.

The latest divorce statistics for the UK suggest that just over 100,000 divorces were granted in England and Wales in 2015 – with adultery cited as the key reason behind 12,148 of them.