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Ending the ‘Blame Game’? – Government announce 12 week consultation period to consider ‘no fault’ divorce

23 September 2018

Government announce 12 week consultation period to consider ‘no fault’ divorce

Following the decision of the Supreme Court in the Owens case, calls for divorce reform have gained more traction.  Family lawyers have been pushing the need for a ‘no-fault’ divorce. This has been led by Resolution, whose members are Family Law practitioners committed to a non-confrontational approach to divorce and family matters.

What is the current law?

As the law currently stands you can only divorce your spouse, if you can satisfy one of the following:-

  • Adultery;
  • Unreasonable Behaviour;
  • Desertion;
  • Separation for 2 years (with the consent of both parties);
  • Separation for 5 years (without consent).

This leads to many divorcing couples being forced to ‘blame’ the other person for the breakdown of the marriage. Especially when they have not been separated for at least 2 years. This can create unwanted acrimony between the parties. Consequently, agreeing other arrangements, for example, in relation to the children or financial issues, are more difficult to resolve.

Removing the requirement for ‘Fault’

The 12 week consultation period will end on the 10th December. Recommendations include removing the need for one party to evidence that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, due to one party’s conduct, or a period of living apart.

Instead, the new proposals would create a notification process. This would mean that the other party to the divorce would be notified of the intention to divorce and they would no longer be able to contest this.  The notification process and the removal of the idea of ‘fault’ would bring the UK into line with other countries around the world. It would make the divorce process less stressful and confrontational for those involved.

Whilst this proposed change would revolutionise divorce law in the UK, it is important to remember that just getting a divorce does not resolve all of the problems that follow a relationship breakdown.

If you are considering a divorce it is important that you speak with an expert family solicitor. You need to ensure that you get the specialist advice that you need.

We have specialist family solicitors in each of our offices, who can offer you a free, no-obligation meeting to discuss your issues.  Make an appointment by completing this form. Alternatively, you can visit our Divorce and Family services page here.

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