The cabinet is set to discuss amendments to the divorce law which would remove the need for couples to have been separated for four years before they can file for divorce.

Prime Minister Robert Abela had announced plans for the reform in October.

Divorce in Maltsa was introduced after a referendum in 2011. 

Malta has a system of 'no-fault divorce' that allows the dissolution of marriage without the need for the spouses to accuse each other of specific faults (such as infidelity or abandonment). 

These issues are tackled at the separation stage.

In terms of the law, however, a couple has to be legally separated or living apart for at least four years to obtain a divorce.  

Abela on Monday said this clause had been inserted in the divorce law when it was introduced nine years ago, and had proven tricky to remove. 

This, he said, was because the current law states that removing this clause would require a national referendum. The government has been gathering legal advice on how best to overcome this hurdle. 

“This is a mess that was created back when divorce was introduced under a past administration,” Abela said. 

At the time of the referendum debate, the pro-divorce movement had praised the four-year delay, saying in a statement that this made divorce “responsible”.

On Sunday, Opposition leader Bernard Grech said the Opposition looked forward to the debate on the divorce law in parliament and had prepared its own amendments.  

Times of Malta reported in July that according to Eurostat statistics, Malta only has 0.7 divorces per 1,000 people, putting it on a par with Ireland, which registered the same rate.

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