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No-fault divorce means a couple can obtain a divorce without one of them having to prove the other party is to blame for the breakdown of the marriage. The simple assertion of irreconcilable differences is sufficient for the court to grant a decree of divorce.

 

Can I Get A No-Fault Divorce In England?

The grounds for divorce in England and Wales are:

  • Adultery
  • Unreasonable behaviour
  • Desertion
  • 2 years separation (if both parties agree)
  • 5 years separation (if one side does not agree)

At present therefore there is no such thing as no-fault divorce in England and Wales. But there have long been calls for a change in the law to introduce no-fault divorce. Family law group Resolution for example campaigns vigorously on the issue. It points out that the current system of divorce is more than 50 years old and in 2015 60% of divorces in England and Wales were granted because of adultery or unreasonable behaviour. In Scotland where the law is different that figure was just 6%.

 

Owens V Owens

Recently calls for the government to act to change divorce law have become almost deafening. This is largely as a result of the widely reported case of Owens v Owens – now before the Supreme Court. The wife in the case, Tini Owens has declared she is ‘locked’ in her 37 year old marriage. Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have rejected her evidence of the alleged unreasonable behaviour of her husband. One judge said the behaviour described was not unreasonable. Instead it was ‘old school’ and what should be ‘expected in a marriage’. It’s fair to say these comments and other aspects of the case have been met by incredulity among certain sections of both the press and the legal profession.

 

Will We Soon See No-Fault Divorce?

The Owens case is currently before the Supreme Court and family lawyers are waiting to see whether the decision will lead to a change in the law. It’s worth remembering that as far back as 2014 the UK’s most senior female judge, Baroness Hale (now president of the Supreme Court) proposed a system of no-fault divorce. She said such a change would reduce the burden on the family courts and limit the bitterness that often results from one party having to blame the other for a relationship breakdown in the divorce petition. Baroness Hale restated her desire for no-fault divorce as recently as April this year. She tackled head on those who say that to introduce a no-fault scheme could undermine the institution of marriage.

With such an influential advocate for no-fault divorce many hope that change is imminent. However as we have seen in the past, similar calls have in the end fallen on deaf ears.

What Now For No-Fault Divorce?

Date: October 10th, 2018 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

  Back in June 2018 we wrote about no-fault divorce and the possible impact the case of Owens v Owens might have on the current system of divorce in England and Wales. In June the Supreme Court was still considering the merits of Mrs. Owens’ claim that she was ‘locked’ in a 37-year marriage. The… Read the full article

Widowed Parent’s Allowance: Can Cohabitees Claim?

Date: October 4th, 2018 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

    As the law stands cohabitees are not able to claim the government-funded widowed parents allowance (WPA). Campaigners like pressure group Resolution argue that it’s just one example of the discriminatory treatment of the six million or so people who live together without being married. But could a recent Supreme Court decision mean the… Read the full article

Will I have to split my inheritance if I divorce?

Date: August 27th, 2018 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

  The division of assets is often a thorny issue in divorce. What forms part of the matrimonial ‘pot’ available for division? And what assets should be ring-fenced from inclusion in the financial settlement? Many people believe inherited money or property should not be in the mix when it comes to divorce. That’s because an… Read the full article

What is a separation agreement?

Date: August 21st, 2018 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

  A separation agreement or ‘Deed of Separation’ is often used as a precursor to divorce. You and your spouse or civil partner may not yet be absolutely sure that you want to divorce. Or you may not be able to establish the necessary grounds for divorce but wish to live apart. In these circumstances… Read the full article

What Happens If My Spouse Spends Heavily Before Our Divorce To Reduce My Financial Settlement?

Date: July 20th, 2018 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

  It’s a well-worn divorce cliché. An aggrieved spouse starts to empty joint accounts and spend his or her savings to stop the other benefitting from the money in an imminent divorce settlement. We have already seen that full financial disclosure is required in divorce proceedings. And we have also looked at what happens when… Read the full article

When My Business Partner Divorces Is There A Risk That The Business Could Be Split?

Date: July 12th, 2018 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

  If you are in business with someone going through a divorce the fear that your co-owner’s changed financial circumstances could threaten your business is understandable. But it’s important to realise that it is difficult for a court to unilaterally make an order in divorce proceedings that could affect third parties such as a business… Read the full article

If I’m Not Happy With My Divorce Outcome, Can I Go Back To Court?

Date: June 15th, 2018 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

  It can sometimes be that one party in divorce proceedings, upon reflection, feels dissatisfied with the final financial order. Even when the settlement has been reached by consent. But reopening a case is never something to embark on lightly. That’s because the courts in England and Wales put a premium on the principle of… Read the full article

What Is No-Fault Divorce?

Date: June 12th, 2018 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

  No-fault divorce means a couple can obtain a divorce without one of them having to prove the other party is to blame for the breakdown of the marriage. The simple assertion of irreconcilable differences is sufficient for the court to grant a decree of divorce.   Can I Get A No-Fault Divorce In England?… Read the full article


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