No fault divorce a welcome step for a better future

News that no fault divorces are to be introduced in this country can only be seen as a welcome step.

The justice secretary, David Gauke, recently said he will bring in legislation for the reform in the next session of parliament.

Until now, the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 in England and Wales, meant anyone seeking a divorce must either prove their partner is at fault through adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour.

Aside of that, if both sides agree, they can part after two years of separation. Without consent or evidence of fault, applicants have to wait until they have been living apart for five years.

As family law experts we can only see the removal of blame in a relationship ending as a positive step as it takes away factors that can stoke up conflict.

The justice secretary launched a consultation last autumn on reforming the law. Apparently, according to the national press, the responses to the consultation were overwhelmingly in favour of the change.

Last year, the much publicised Tini Owens case highlighted the issue. The supreme court ruled she could not divorce her husband until a period of five years had elapsed, as he did not agree to the divorce. They had been living separate lives since 2015.

As well as thousands of lawyers across the land being in favour of the change, like ourselves at Keelys, family law organisation Resolution, also overwhelming supports the reform.

Divorce law has often meant people making up stories to allow a divorce to happen quicker, or even pointing fingers at each other about behaviour.

Whilst much of the detail has yet to be agreed, it seems clear the legislation should soon be law.

Separation and divorce looks likely to be far less acrimonious for many people bringing us in line with countries like the USA and Spain.

Marriages ending are always a sad situation with deep emotional ties severed, it’s a human issue a million miles away from the cold facts of law. Helping people move on with as little conflict as possible can only help all those involved in marriage break-up.

If you would like to talk to us about this or any aspect of family law, then contact our team today, they are here to help you.

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