Family Law

No Fault Divorce – A Better Way

17 May 2018

Our specialist family law team support a change in the law to allow for “No Fault Divorce” without, as is currently the case, waiting two years from the date that the parties separated.

The recent case of Owens has highlighted a potential situation where one spouse has to prove that the other has behaved unreasonably in order to obtain a divorce. This allows one party to the marriage to effectively stop the divorce by claiming that their behaviour was not unreasonable. Such a claim is not going to mend the marriage, causes serious emotional distress which is likely to impact on all family members, and often causes financial hardship, not to mention a significant increase in legal fees.

Many people are unaware that even where a couple both accept that their marriage has ended and want to remain on reasonable terms for their children’s sake they cannot divorce until two years has passed unless they allege “fault” by virtue of adultery or unreasonable behaviour. This means that they cannot obtain a final financial order even though they have often been able to resolve financial issues amicably until the two year period of separation has passed.

Despite the use of the “fault” grounds of adultery and unreasonable behaviour to obtain a divorce, in our experience, very rarely do these grounds affect the financial settlement or in reality help the person seeking the divorce come to terms with their situation. In fact using these grounds often only adds “fuel to the fire” and the person cannot then understand why there are limited financial consequences for this behaviour.

We welcome changes to the divorce process to assist people who are going through this difficult time in their lives. Divorce is never easy but the law should be changed so that it can be achieved with as much humanity as possible.

To speak to our specialist family lawyers please contact Barbara Richardson or Nicola Codd by telephone on 01524 401010 or email [email protected]


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