No fault divorce – has the time come?

By October 1, 2015

2 year study to investigate the benefits of a no fault divorce system

The clamour from the legal profession to introduce no fault divorce in England and Wales has gotten a little louder this week, with the announcement of a 2 year study by family lawyer group Resolution to investigate the merits of replacing the current, partially fault based divorce system with a US style, no blame system.

48 per cent of divorces in 2012 were granted on the basis of fault.

In 2012 48% of divorces in England and Wales were granted on either unreasonable behaviour or adultery, so just under half of all divorces still rely on one person saying the other person caused the marriage to break down, when the reality is always going to be a lot greyer.

Having to ascribe fault has always been the keystone of the divorce system here and the only no fault grounds available are 2 years separation by consent and 5 years separation without consent.

In reality how many people are prepared to wait two years to file their divorce. Many people will simply agree to make up a list of faults that they can use to get the divorce through quicker, making a mockery of the system.

Apportioning blame also causes resentment and increases the animosity between the warring couple, when what is needed is calm mediation to achieve a dignified end to the marriage and fair financial split.

This current government is obsessed with cuts to the justice system and surely anything that would speed up the process and involve less court time would also reduce the amount of money they need to spend on judges and court staff. If both parties agree and the forms have been completed correctly, then why does a Judge need to get involved at all?

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