Financial & Legal News

‘No Fault’ Divorce

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Should you be able to divorce without blaming your spouse in divorce proceedings?

Resolution, the family justice body, are currently campaigning for the law surrounding divorce in England and Wales to be changed into ‘no fault’ divorce allowing couples to divorce without blaming each other.

Following a landmark case of Owen v Owen in the Supreme Court where the woman was denied a divorce because her husband’s behaviour wasn’t deemed unreasonable enough for the purposes of the divorce petition.

Resolution believes the laws surrounding divorce should be changed to allow couples to separate without having to apportion blame on a legal document and without having to wait at least two years before they can divorce. 

No Fault Divorce

They are proposing a new procedure for a ‘no fault’ divorce where one or both parties can give notice that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  The divorce can proceed and after a period of 6 months if either or both think they have made the right decision then the divorce can be finalised without blame being attached.

Currently the only grounds for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and to apply or a divorce solicitors have to rely on one of five facts:-

  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Adultery
  • 2 years’ separation with consent
  • 2 years’ desertion
  • 5 years’ separation

Many of our clients are shocked when we tell them that even if both parties agree that their marriage is over, an element of blame will need to be assigned to one party unless they wait for two years.   We find that some of our clients are worried that assigning blame to the other party makes it harder for couples to reach an amicable divorce, says Lucinda McWatt, Family Solicitor.

She explains, “Under a ‘no fault’ divorce system couples would be able to formally end their marriage without either person being held at fault.  ‘No fault’ would be a more administrative process, rather than a Court procedure.”

All solicitors in the family team at Pearson are members of Resolution and are committed to helping clients deal with matters in a way that reduces conflict as much as possible.

If you would like more information or would like to chat to one of our solicitors then please call us on 0161 785 3500





Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

Written by Lucinda McWatt


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