The divorce process in England and Wales is currently a fault based divorce system and this can exacerbate conflict between both the Petitioner and the Respondent during the divorce process. Two of the five facts to demonstrate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down are that the Respondent has behaved in such a way that the Petitioner cannot be expected to live with them and that the Respondent has committed adultery. These facts require an element of fault but also mean that people can issue divorce proceedings within two years of marriage breakdown. Therefore it is encouraging divorcing couples to make false allegations on the divorce papers in the event that they do not wish to issue a two years separation with consent petition.
A No Fault Divorce Bill is currently going through parliament which would remove the blame from divorce and thus would help couples work through the difficult process in a dignified way without the need for mud-slinging. Would this be a step towards a divorce process that is more civilised perhaps? It would no doubt provide the opportunity for more of an amicable separation which would certainly help to minimise any disruption of children involved. If couples just grow apart through no fault of either party, surely they should be able to choose to divorce in a dignified manner.
The No Fault Divorce Bill seeks to reform the law so that a divorce could be issued where both parties issue a joint petition in order to satisfy the court that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The Bill’s second reading is due to be debated on 11 March 2016.
If you would like more information, speak to our Family Law Solicitor, Louisa Gothard on 020 7998 7777 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.