The trauma of the breakdown of a relationship can be significant. It is not helped when one party has to make accusations about the other.
It’s a very sad state of affairs that Divorce Law in England in Wales currently has a significant flaw. “No Fault” Divorce is only possible if the parties are willing to wait for at least 2 years.
Currently couples going through the Divorce procedure have to show the marriage has broken down irretrievably and prove it by satisfying one of 5 factors; the other party’s adultery, the other party’s behaviour, 2 years’ separation, with the other party’s consent, separation for 5 years without the other party’s consent, or desertion for 2 years.
The absence of what should be a fundamental part of our Divorce system leaves many couples with no other choice than to have to wait for 2 years. Unless they are willing to start throwing accusations.
The urgent need for a “No Fault” Divorce was highlighted in the case of Owen v Owen earlier on this year. The judge ruled that Mrs Owen could not get a divorce because she could not prove that Mr Owen’s behaviour was such that it would be unreasonable for her to stay with him. This was despite the fact that she felt strongly that the marriage was over. The case has gone to the Supreme Court and a further decision is awaited. But it illustrates why we need a No Fault Divorce as clearly it cannot be right to keep parties married when one party wishes to end the marriage
Malta, China, Australia and Canada are just a few of the countries where No Fault Divorce is a part of the legal system. So why not here you may ask? Believe it or not we once had a law allowing No Fault Divorce passed in 1996 which was never implemented. The issue of the no fault divorce is a widely debated topic. MPs introduced private bills in 2015 and 2017 without success. It is hoped that by applying continued pressure to the government, that they will consider revising its position.
Resolution, an organisation made up of family lawyers whose primary aim is to settle legal disputes without the need for contentious litigation is in the process of lobbying the government to reconsider the position. It is a change that will come sooner or later, it is just a question of when. I will be monitoring this situation very closely.