Ending relationships: divorce and separation

1.  In Santos v Santos, the Court of Appeal were invited to consider the case of a diplomat posted to an ‘insalubrious foreign capital’, who goes there without his or her spouse because it is felt better for that spouse and their children to remain in England. In what circumstances, if any, could either spouse subsequently petition for divorce on the basis of their separation?

2.  In what circumstances, if any, could English law be said to allow for divorce by (i) mutual consent or (ii) unilateral decision? Should the law explicitly make either or both of those a ground, or the ground, for divorce?  In what sense, if any, would the 2019 Bill effectively do so?

3.  Bearing in mind some religious groups’ opposition to the 2019 Bill, should English law follow the example of Louisiana by enabling couples to choose between different forms of marriage, one of which will be harder to dissolve than the other? Why do you think take-up of ‘covenant marriage’ in Louisiana and elsewhere has been low?

4.  What purpose do or might waiting periods for divorce serve? Is Ira Ellman right to suggest that they are in fact waiting periods for remarriage rather than for divorce?

5.  Should the law of divorce treat couples with children differently from those without? What advantages and disadvantages can you think such an approach might have?

6.  Should couples intending to marry be required to attend an information meeting? If so, what information should be imparted at such meetings and by whom should they be conducted?