Longridge: 01772 783 314 | Garstang: 01995 602 129 | Lancaster: 01524 581 306 
 
Longridge: 01772 783 314 
Garstang: 01995 602 129 
Lancaster: 01524 581 306 
As specialist divorce solicitors, it is rare that we at MG Legal get to write about marriage, but the Law Commission is to conduct a two- year review of marriage ceremonies in England and Wales view a view to cutting red tape. This follows a 2015 review which much to everyone’s surprise (**sarcasm intended**) found the laws surrounding marriage to be outdated and too restrictive. We were particularly surprised to hear this given that the laws surrounding marriage only date back to 1836. So, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced in his 2018 budget that the Law Commission should draw up proposals for change following the review. 
 
The suggestion is that the project will look at the current laws as to how and where marriages can take place. There have been suggestions that military bases should allowed to be used for marriages for military personnel along with proposals that couples are allowed to marry in their own homes or at sea. The Law Commission's aim is to look at creating a simpler, fairer system that provides more choices and an alternative to the cost of an approved venue or registry office. The Government in the meantime is going to separately look to introduce new legislation which will allow civil weddings and civil partnerships to be held outside. Naturally; the Ministry of Justice said any new venues “would have to meet the existing test of solemnity and dignity”. 
The cynics among us have noted the irony in the government spending more money on looking into venues for marriages whilst the waiting times at the eleven venues dealing with divorce have soared! The Ministry of Justice’s Quarterly statistics reflecting that the current wait time from petition to decree absolute is a whopping 59 weeks. The average time from petition to decree nisi being 33 weeks! 
 
The government's response to a parliamentary written question from shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon MP about the average wait time at each divorce centre in 2015 and 2019 suggests that the increase is not a blip. Waiting times have risen across the country since the divorce centres were set up in 2015. The least affected region is the Midlands, where couples have to wait 3.6 weeks longer (24 weeks in 2015, 27.6 weeks now). The south-east is the worst hit, with couples waiting four months longer (24.7 weeks in 2015, 41 weeks now). 
 
So, our family solicitors have one piece of advice: if you’re looking to get divorced, get the process started ASAP! If you have any divorce queries contact our dedicated family law team based in Lancaster on 01524 581 306, Preston on 01772 783 314, or Garstang on 01995 602129 or email enquiries@mglegal.co.uk
 
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