What is ‘No Fault Divorce’ and can I get one?

April 2019

The government has announced this week that a change to the laws around divorce will be considered with a potential new ‘no fault’ system being made available to separating couples.  This option is not yet available and will need to be considered by Parliament but it is the first step towards changes which have long been campaigned for by family law practitioners.

The current law says that, unless you have been separated for 2 years and have consent from the other person, 5 years without it or there has been desertion, you have to divorce on the grounds of the other person’s adultery or behaviour. In 2016, the majority (60%) of divorces in England and Wales were granted on adultery and behaviour.

A divorce is always difficult and painful for the whole family but if one of a separating couple has to make allegations about the other person’s behaviour when they both know that they want to separate, the process can make this even worse.  We know, as family lawyers, that arguments can break out during the divorce as a result of the divorce application being prepared and that this can in turn impact on the children.

During a 2015 ComRes survey, 82% of 14-22 year olds said that they would prefer their parents to part if they are unhappy and yet it is often the children who get caught up in the conflict by directly and indirectly being exposed to the arguments.  The intentions behind the new plans are to reduce the unnecessary conflict and give divorcing couples a different way of doing things.

All of our family team solicitors are members of Resolution; one of the most active organisations that has actively fought for these changes.  Resolution solicitors are committed to reducing conflict and promoting non-confrontational ways of working that put the best interests of children first.

If you have any questions about how you can obtain a divorce now or in the future if these changes come into effect, our family team will be pleased to assist you.  More information about the proposed changes can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-divorce-law-to-end-the-blame-game

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