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Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain on marriage and divorce

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain of Maidenhead Synagogue wrote to The Times on proposals to change divorce law.

Sir, It is inconsistent that we allow people to marry without examining their preparedness yet demand they justify a divorce before permitting it. Would it not be more logical to either make both a free-will choice, without any state-imposed conditions, or to insist that both should require evidence of suitability before they can proceed.

A marital equivalent of a driving test — constructed in a way that is sensible and sensitive — might make for much healthier unions and even reduce the divorce rate. Thus clergy or registrars could check if the couple had discussed key topics such as home life, finance, children’s upbringing, relationships with family (including children from previous liaisons), with short courses on offer, be they compulsory or voluntary.

Divorce will still occur, and may well be the right decision, but it is surely worth strengthening the chances of a marriage succeeding by spending as much time on the path to entering it as one does in the process of extricating oneself from it.

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