This week Resolution are launching their no fault divorce campaign calling for divorce law reform.
As things stand, no fault divorce doesn’t exist in England and Wales. In order to divorce you currently need to demonstrate that the marriage has broken down in one of the following ways:
That your spouse has committed adultery and you find it intolerable to live together
Unreasonable behaviour (that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you can’t be expected to live together)
That your spouse has deserted you for at least two years
That you have been living apart for two years and your spouse also wants a divorce
That you have lived apart for five years or more.
In reality, this means that unless couples have lived separate lives for a significant amount of time, one of the parties in the marriage must be at fault if the couple wishes for a divorce to be granted.
No fault divorce is a divorce in which it is not required to show that either party is at fault thus enabling couples to divorce without having to apportion blame on each other.
Currently 9 in 10 family law professionals say that the current fault-based system makes it harder to reduce conflict and confrontation between clients and their ex partners. Supporters believe that introducing no fault divorce will reduce the stress and pain that couples go through and could make it easier for couples to settle their divorces out of court rather than inflaming the situation by making couples dredge up all the bad feeling they went through at the time of separation.
People who oppose no fault divorce argue that by making the divorce process even more simple it will encourage couples to marry without thinking carefully about what marriage actually entails or could encourage couples to divorce as soon as difficulties arise instead of trying to work through those problems.
Andrew Nelson, our family specialist, is a member of Resolution, an organisation which promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems.
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