Marriage Troubles; Catholics Snub Mackay on `Fault Free' Divorce

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A LEADING marriage guidance charity has snubbed the Lord Chancellor over his plans for `fault-free' divorce.

Marriage Care, the Roman Catholic advice bureau, has turned down a request from Lord Mackay to spearhead a trial run for the radical new divorce system set up under his controversial Family Law Act.

The charity, whose clients include many non-Catholics, said yesterday it could not head the pilot project because its aim was to save marriages, not to encourage divorce.

The refusal from the charity, which backed the Family Law Act during its stormy passage through Parliament last year, threatens the prospects of a smooth launch for Lord Mackay's complex new system of counselling and mediation for divorcing couples.

It suggests the apparently seamless support shown by churches and marriage groups last year may be weakening as the time for putting the system into practice approaches.

Embarrassingly for Lord Mackay, the move comes a few days before National Marriage Week, a publicity drive intended to bolster marriage in which he plans to underline his support for the institution. …