Our Barry Bunyan’s blog of last week confirmed that, following the outcome of the case heard by the Supreme Court of Owens v Owens, the government were to have a consultation on whether or not No Fault Divorce should be introduced in this country.

Barry confirmed that this has indeed been long awaited, since the Law Commission recommended it in 1990.

Presently, the law concerning divorce requires a party to apportion blame or ‘fault’ upon the other for the breakdown of the marriage in order to obtain a divorce.  They must either rely on the other’s adultery, unreasonable behaviour or desertion.  If they cannot they must prove that they have been separated for 2 years and require the other person’s consent to divorce.  The only alternative is to wait until 5 years have passed since the time of separation.

This often serves to increase acrimony between the parties and for victims of domestic abuse it allows a continued form of control.  The unnecessary conflict that can be brought about due to the law as it is now can also have a negative impact upon the emotional wellbeing of any children of a family that is separating.

With the launch of the consultation on 15th September 2018, Justice Secretary, David Gauke has said:

“Marriage will always be one of our most important institutions, but when a relationship ends it cannot be right for the law to create or increase conflict between divorcing couples.

That is why we will remove the archaic requirements to allege fault or show evidence of separation, making the process less acrimonious and helping families look to the future.”

Proposals detailed in the consultation include:

  • retaining the sole ground for divorce: the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage

  • removing the need to show evidence of the other spouse’s conduct, or a period of living apart

  • introducing a new notification process where one, or possibly both parties, can notify the court of the intention to divorce

  • removing the opportunity for the other spouse to contest the divorce application

The consultation ends on the 8th December 2018.

To take part in the process and give your views on the matter, click the link

If you require advice in relation to divorce, financial separation and children matters from one of our specialist lawyers then please contact us.