Posted On / 11.12.2016

Divorce - The Proposed New Way Forward

Battens’ team of family lawyers are members of Resolution which is an organisation composed of family lawyers and other professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. Members of Resolution regularly lobby Parliament on relevant issues and run awareness campaigns to help people make the right choices.  

Resolution’s current campaign is for No Fault Divorce.  

At present, in order to divorce, unless a couple has been living apart for two years and both agree to a divorce, one of them needs to apportion some form of blame on the other, for instance adultery or unreasonable behaviour.  This can lead to conflict which can have a negative impact on reaching agreement in other areas of the separation.  

Removing blame from divorce will not make it more likely that people will divorce but make it easier for each of the parties to manage their separation with as little stress and conflict as possible. They will be able to deal with the process in a more civilised manner rather than one person seeking to blame the other. In our experience it is very rare that one person is to blame for the breakdown of a marriage, it does take two, and each of the parties will have their own take on what has gone wrong in the marriage. No Fault Divorce focuses the parties on what is important, such as the practicalities of care of the children and finances, rather than expending emotional energy on who is to blame for the situation that the couple find themselves facing.

Resolution are proposing a new procedure for divorce where one or both parties can give notice that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. If, after a period of say 6 months, either or both of them still think that divorce is the way forward, then final orders can be made.  

This is not a new concept and the Family Law Act 1996 does provide for No Fault Divorce, it has just never been enacted. No Fault Divorce takes place in Australia, Spain and the USA where it works. Senior Judges have stressed the need for reform and it is hoped amongst those of us dealing with separating couples on a day to day basis that it will not be long in coming to England and Wales.  

If no blame is attached to divorce the parties will be on an equal footing and so the chances of success in resolving the other aspects of the divorce, such as money and children issues, are likely to be higher. With more out of court settlements the burden on the courts will be reduced. An agreement as to the way forward for a divorcing couple is the best solution for both of them and has a positive impact on the way any children deal with the breakup of their parents.  

We will wait and see how successful Resolution’s campaign is but if you wish to discuss your matrimonial issues with one of our specialist team please contact Lesley Powell on 01935 846089 or lesley.powell@battens.co.uk

Visito our Divorce and Separation page by clicking here