Current law in England and Wales states that couples cannot get divorced unless they have been separated for at least two years or can blame the other party – in which case they have to list their spouse’s unreasonable behaviour with sufficient detail to satisfy the divorce court- or cite the others adultery, if there has been any. This is hardly a no-fault divorce and is despite the fact that grounds for divorce have no bearing on any financial settlement or arrangements involving children, but simply enable the divorce to proceed to the next stage.
No fault divorce, if it should eventually be introduced into England and Wales, empowers a family court to grant divorce in response to a petition by either party, without the petitioner having to provide evidence that the respondent has breached the marital contract. This also limits the defence of a respondent who would prefer to remain married. It’s not exactly a new concept – it was introduced by the Bolsheviks into Russia following the 1917 revolution, and into the state of California in 1970.
For many people, the two year wait is simply not practical when they need to attend to their finances -if you find yourself in such a position, you would effectively be forced to resort to recording details either of their partner’s adultery or unreasonable behaviour in order to proceed with the divorce, even in situations when they have mutually agreed that their marriage is over. This makes an already difficult and distressing process even harder, so much so that many divorce lawyers believe the law urgently needs to change, in order for couples to divorce with more dignity and without a two- year wait.
Divorce and separation is often a time of conflict and heartache which puts families under tremendous pressure. If you’re keen to avoid unnecessary argument and delay in going through divorce, then talk to our specialists about either collaborative law or family mediation – both of which may be able to help you.
In any event, if you’re thinking of a divorce, get in touch with one of our specialist Divorce solicitors for free initial specialist advice.