‘No Fault’ divorces: should the law recognise that sometimes nobody is to blame?

Currently, in order to divorce one spouse, the Petitioner must show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.  The breakdown must be as a result of one of the following five reasons;

* adultery

* unreasonable behaviour

* desertion

* two years separation with consent to divorce

* five years separation

The law insists: someone is to blame...

The law as it stands states that if a couple have not been separated for two years then they can only divorce based on adultery or unreasonable behaviour. This can be incredibly upsetting for a couple that have agreed that they would be better off apart and that this is nobody's fault. In essence, the law insists that someone is to blame, when very often this is simply not the case.

If a couple is insistent that neither party is to blame for the breakdown of their marriage, they must wait for at least two years to start divorce proceedings. However, in a great many cases, having decided that their marriage is effectively over, couples understandably wish to have the divorce finalised as soon as possible.

It is perhaps no surprise therefore, that the latest statistics show the most common reason for divorce to be unreasonable behaviour.

Change on the horizon

The good news is that it ‘no fault’ divorces are gaining more and more support.

Resolution is a national organisation comprised of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals who are committed to finding a constructive resolution to all family disputes. In November of 2016, as part of Resolution's 'Good Divorce Week', 150 family law practitioners met with MPs and peers to petition the government, proposing that provisions for a 'No Fault Divorce' be introduced.

This followed a survey in which Resolution found that more than 90% of family law professionals agreed that divorce law requires modernisation, and that ‘No Fault’ Divorce should be introduced.

At New Leaf Solicitors, we agree a No Fault Divorce system would be much better for separating couples. In the meantime, please contact us if you're looking to separate amicably. We'll do our very best to help your divorce arrangements go smoothly, without unnecessary acrimony.