Divorce without blame

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Richard Bacon MP has proposed an amendment to the current law on divorce. The No Fault Divorce Bill will be presented for its second reading in the next parliamentary session.

The Bill makes provision for the dissolution of a marriage or civil partnership when each party has separately signed a Declaration stating that the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down, without the requirement by either party to satisfy the court of any facts.

The current divorce law provides that parties have to produce evidence of one of five facts: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, separation for two years with consent, or separation for five years without consent. This does not assist those couples who have grown apart through no fault of either party who want to divorce before they have been separated for two years. At present, in that situation, one couple has to issue divorce proceedings against the other on the fault based grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour.

In recent years, the family law system has increasingly encouraged mediation and negotiated agreements in relation to children and financial matters. If the proposed Bill is passed, enabling couples to divorce mutually without blaming each other, this can only assist people attempting to resolve all matters in the most amicable and non-confrontational manner possible. This has to be a good thing, especially for those couples who have children together.

This is certainly not the first time that no fault divorce has been advocated and, as before, the suggested change faces opposition. Watch this space and we will keep you updated.

For more information, help or advice, please contact our Family team.

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