No fault divorces – Is it finally the end of the blame game?

Hand with ring

The government has confirmed that divorce law in England and Wales may finally be changed to introduce ‘no fault’ divorces.

Family law practitioners have been campaigning for this much needed change to the law for a long time.

Under the current law, if a couple wish to be divorced, one party must prove that a marriage has irretrievably broken down, which must be supported by one or more of the five facts:

The most common fact for a divorce is unreasonable behaviour, which requires one party to set out reasons for the breakdown of the marriage. The reasons cannot be neutral and the Petitioner has to ‘blame’ the Respondent. This can make an already difficult and upsetting time, even more acrimonious – after all, none of us would like to see a list of allegations about our behaviour.

However, the government plans to reform the divorce process by (amongst other things) removing the concept of fault and instead allowing couples to provide a statement confirming the marriage has irretrievably broken down – no further evidence is required.

The change will mean that divorcing couples will no longer have to blame each other for the breakdown of the marriage.

We believe that the introduction of no fault divorces will reduce conflict and animosity, allowing couples to focus on important issues and move forward as constructively as possible. This is particularly important for parents as conflict can be damaging for children and therefore it is important to maintain a positive parenting relationship to enable you to co-parent.

It has been confirmed that the provisions of the Bill will become law, after Royal Ascent and ‘as soon as parliamentary time allows’. It is unknown when or if this will be achieved. For now, the existing divorce process continues.

At Hart Reade, all of our family law solicitors are members of Resolution, which means we are committed to resolving matters by agreement and in a non-confrontational manner.

We can provide you with a wealth of information, advice and support to assist you during what can be a difficult time. If you wish to speak to any of the family law team, please call us on 01323 727321.

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Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice and only provides a brief overview of certain issues. You should always speak to a legal professional to discuss your circumstances and consider your options.