'No fault' Divorces

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Under the current rules, unless a couple have been separated for two years, one of the couple is effectively forced to ‘blame’ the other for the end of the marriage in order to start divorce proceedings.

The person wanting to start the divorce has to be able to say that the other behaved unreasonably during the marriage or committed adultery.

Not surprisingly, the other person often becomes angry and sad at being faced with a list of their alleged wrong –doings and these feelings may influence how both parties feel about children’s arrangements and financial matters.

The recent case of Owens v Owens highlighted this when the courts found the wife’s allegations of the husband’s unreasonable behaviour were not sufficient for a divorce to be granted.

For many years there have been calls for governments to introduce ‘no fault’ divorce’ so that, after a specific time apart eg one year, a person can commence divorce proceedings without having to allege that the other has done anything to cause the ending of the marriage.

However, that situation may be coming to an end as the government has now announced a consultation on reforming the divorce laws to allow for the introduction of a ‘no fault’ divorce.

That has to be a good move in helping to reduce potential anger and distress at such an emotional time.

The consultation closes on 10 December 2018.

 

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Helen Starmer
Solicitor

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