In 2016 around 70 members of Resolution travelled to the Houses of Parliament to lobby MPs about the need for divorce law to be amended to allow couples to obtain a Decree of Divorce without having to cite blame.
I was amongst those Resolution Members and at the time we were warmly received by those MPs that met with us, all pledged their support for amendments to the current legislation. The current legislation was originally drafted in the 1950’s. Such legislation has not kept up with the changes in our society. Sadly the recent statistics show that as many as one in four marriages fail and end in divorce.
Under current legislation it remains necessary to allege ‘grounds’ for divorce in order to obtain a Decree of Divorce on separation or wait 2 years (and even then the other party must consent to a divorce). It is often crucial for parting couples to divorce sooner rather than later. Alleging ‘grounds’ is a great pity since it can impact on the other negotiations between the couple who are going through a difficult time as their life changes because of the separation and to have to put personal details of their marriage down in black and white, or worse read those allegations about you can be most upsetting.
We are all familiar with the phrase “least said soonest mended”. It is often a phrase I use when advising a client who wishes to allege numerous allegations against their estranged spouse. If a lengthy divorce petition is filed citing detailed and historic examples of unreasonable behaviour, which does not help the couple reach amicable solutions and arrangements for their children, or the division of their assets.
In other words the proceedings begin with one party blaming the other and the other party feeling aggrieved at being held responsible. Whether either parties or just one are to blame, it is rarely relevant, and does not help for early resolution of any other matters and indeed may increase the conflict between the couple. Something which Resolution Members and Family Lawyers all agree should be kept to a minimum.
I am not the only Family Lawyer that was eagerly anticipating an amendment to the Divorce Law to enable ‘No Fault Divorce’ to become law. Every Family Lawyer I know believes its time for change and that such change is long overdue.
Alas, just as progress was being made and the Bill progressed through Parliament, the ‘B’ word explodes onto the agenda and everything else falls by the wayside. As Brexit has taken a front seat it will now take even longer for the new law to make its way into legislation.
It is anticipated that the new bill will remove the requirement to make an allegation about the other spouse’s conduct or demonstrate a period of separation with the requirement to state to the court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Furthermore it is expected create the option for married couples to make a joint application in cases where the decision to divorce is mutual. I welcome this change in the law as it will reduce the animosity within divorce proceedings considerably. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait much longer!!
If you have taken the decision to separate from your spouse and are looking at the possibility of issuing divorce proceedings, it is important you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Call our experienced Family Law team at Farleys on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.