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New ‘no-fault’ divorce law to be introduced in England and Wales

On Tuesday 9th April 2019, the government announced that changes will be made to reform the current divorce law by introducing a no-fault divorce. The new legislation aims to reduce conflict and the time it will take for former couples to separate.

Couples will no longer have to blame each other for the breakdown of their marriage as the new legislation will allow former partners to simply state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. An irretrievable breakdown of marriage will be considered the sole ground for divorce. In addition, a six month waiting period will be given to couples to reflect and to better plan for their future before the divorce has been granted.

Also, the government proposes to remove the option of allowing a spouse to contest a divorce as they believe this practice can be misused by former spouses that contest a divorce to simply continue their controlling behaviour.

At present, both parties must provide proof for an irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. The current laws also force spouses to evidence ‘unreasonable behaviour’ such as adultery, behaviour, and desertion to be the cause of the breakdown of the marriage.

Alternatively, if this cannot be evidenced then both parties must be separated for at least two years if the other spouse consents to the divorce or five years if the other spouse does not consent.

Family Law organisation, Resolution, have lead the call for a ‘no-fault divorce’ to be introduced. Resolution is a family law association which promotes a non-confrontational approach to resolving family problems.

Resolution have been campaigning for this change in divorce law for over 30 years. They believe that the current law makes it more difficult for Resolution experts to help couples dealing with the consequences of a relationship breakdown with as little conflict as possible.

Many of our family solicitors are Resolution accredited. Our Resolution experts encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family and in particular the best interests of children.

For further information regarding the new legislation please click here.

To speak to us about any aspect of family law, contact a member of our family department team today.

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