NO FAULT DIVORCE – finally set to become a reality?

The legal profession (especially those of us dealing with Family Law) have welcomed the Government’s announcement that they will be introducing ‘no-fault’ divorce. The aim is to reform and modernise our divorce legislation that is nearly half a century old.

Many of us have long since recognised that our existing divorce process is not fit for our times. Separating couples should not be spending time, money and efforts on arguing why they are getting divorced and which of them is to blame. If the marriage has irretrievably broken down, which is always the requirement for any divorce application, then why complicate matters. Many couples currently negotiate back and forth over who will be the “unreasonable party” and exactly what grounds of alleged unreasonable behaviour can be cited in the petition. This is simply to comply with the current rules and regulations and rarely because one party feels like “venting” to the court.

Parting couples need to be able to save their energy and resources for resolving the more important issues arising from the end of their marriage – the living and visiting arrangements for any dependant children, and the matrimonial finances – in particular the conundrum of rehousing everyone.

There was initially some resistance to the suggestion of any change to the existing law – mainly arguing that it could make obtaining a divorce too easy. However, such a concern is rather late given that the Government has already made it possible to apply for a divorce online (since July 2018). Further, most people would not want to spend the £550 court fee on seeking a divorce unless there is good reason, and there are still basic requirements to meet before making an application to the court – such as having been married for one year, and for the marriage to have irretrievably broken down.

It is unclear precisely when the new law will be in place – legislation usually takes a few months to be drafted, approved and put into effect. For Family Lawyers, the desperately needed modernisation of our current divorce law cannot happen too quickly.

If you would like any more information on divorce, or any other area of family law please contact us on 020 8363 4444 or e-mail enquiries@curwens.co.uk

Curwens have offices in Royston, Hoddesdon and Enfield.