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?

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.

Share:

Google Reviews

Brookman Solicitors

51 Reviews

Jo Hannah 09/03/2019

I am very thankful to Mr Henry Brookman for his time, understanding and advice. I would highly recommend this firm.

Jeffrey Schenck 06/02/2019

Henry Brookman listened carefully and provided clear, thoughtful, sound advice that took into account the complexity of my situation. All of my dealings with the firm were handled with sensitivity and respect. I would definitely recommend the services of Brookman Solicitors.

Ilona Galiyeva 29/01/2019

I’ve dealt with Mr. Brookman himself and he is very peasant to work with. Listens to your demands and is very helpful in terms of providing advice.

Milla Linke 24/01/2019

Mr Brookman is very professional and helpful. After my initial consultation I have more clarity and understanding into my situation. I would highly recommend this firm.

Mr Man 09/01/2019

VERY PROFESSIONAL . My initial telephone contact to this firm was handled very professionally. First impressions really do matter. The details of my enquiry were taken and I soon became eased to believe that I being listened to and relevant details were being noted. My subsequent initial assessment interview was just as thorough and professional, consistent with my previous experience. Choosing a solicitor to act on your behalf is a very important consideration. Although my case is still on going, I have every confidence and peace of mind that I will be concluded well.