The recent case of Owens v Owens has again thrown the current legal requirements for divorce to be brought into question.
Current divorce law in England and Wales does not allow one party to unilaterally decide to divorce because they are unhappy in the marriage. Unless the parties have been separated for more than 2 years, one spouse usually must allege bad behaviour on the part of their spouse to prove to the court that the marriage has permanently ended and broken down irretrievably. Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/divorce/grounds-for-divorce
In a survey of legal professionals by Resolution, an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales, who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters, 9 out of 10 agreed the current law makes it harder for them to reduce conflict and confrontation between clients and their ex-partners.
The survey also found:
· 67% said the current law makes it harder for separated parents to reach an amicable agreement over arrangements for children.
· 80% believe the introduction of no-fault divorce would make it more likely for separated couples to reach an agreement out of court.
· 60% have experienced lawyers drafting more aggressive petitions than before the Court of Appeal judgment in Owens v Owens.
Nigel Shepherd, immediate past Chair of Resolution said:
“Our current laws can often create unnecessary conflict in divorce, forcing many couples to blame each other when there is no real need – other than a legal requirement – to do so. This conflict is detrimental to the couples themselves, and, crucially, any children they may have.”
“The Government needs to grasp the nettle and end the blame game.”
A removal of the requirement of apportioning blame, would, in theory, mean that parties are more amicable and conclude their divorce out of court via alternative means of resolution such as mediation.
Whilst the existing grounds exist, getting a divorce can sometimes feel like a lonely process, but with us, you’ll gain the reassurance of having a sympathetic expert on your side to make things easier. We’ll do all we can to ensure that the process runs as quickly and simply as possible so that you can start planning for the future.
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This blog is intended to give general information and does not constitute legal advice. Should you require legal advice please contact us.