On 9 April the Justice Secretary David Gauke vowed to end the “unnecessary blame game” in marital breakdowns.
Currently there are a limited set of grounds for divorce, which requires the person petitioning for divorce to prove that their partner is at fault either though adultery or unreasonable behaviour. This can only be avoided if the couple have been separated for two years.
The new proposed law would replace the need to evidence adultery, desertion or unreasonable behaviour by a requirement for a statement of irretrievable breakdown. There will also be an option for a joint application for divorce.
Too Easy To Divorce?
There has been concern that the new law will make it too easy to divorce, however parliament has sought to address this by including provision for a minimum six-month timeframe to enable couples to “reflect” on their decision.
David Gauke, who announced the change, said: “Hostility and conflict between parents leave their mark on children and can damage their life chances. While we will always uphold the institution of marriage, it cannot be right that our outdated law creates or increases conflict between divorcing couples. So I have listened to calls for reform and firmly believe now is the right time to end this unnecessary blame game for good.”
The Ministry of Justice said new legislation would be introduced “as soon as parliamentary time allows”.
Sandra Sinclair, Director of local specialist family law firm Sinclair Law, said
“We always strive to reach a resolution between separating couples as painlessly as possible, whether that be in relation to financial settlements or arrangements for the children. No fault divorce will help couples remain amicable and avoid the need to apportion blame when they have no wish to do so.”