Progress made on option of no-fault divorce
The government is moving forward with its plans to change the law to allow for no-fault divorce. Justice Secretary, Mr Gauke, has revealed that a reform package will be put to MPs within months.
At present, when you apply for a divorce you have to state that your marriage has broken down, and you need to support this by giving details of one or more of the following five facts:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years’ separation with the consent of the respondent
- Five years’ separation
It is not possible to get a divorce without referring to adultery or ‘behaviour’ unless a couple have been separated for at least two years. For many, waiting two years to sort out their finances rules out this option, meaning that they must refer to either their partner’s adultery or their behaviour to proceed with the divorce. This system forces couples to blame one another if they wish to progress the divorce and so has received heavy criticism for being unfit for purpose and damaging to couples and families.
A change in the law would enable couples to divorce without having to make any accusations of bad behaviour, by giving notice that a marriage has broken down irretrievably.
Being able to apply for a no-fault divorce will spare couples the emotional stress and strain of finding blame and enable individuals to move on with their lives rather than having to wait for two years before a no-fault divorce can be obtained.
Rebecca Jones, family trainee solicitor