No Fault Divorce plans are unveiled
9 April 2019 by Julia Brewer
Following many years of pressure by family lawyers the Government has announced plans to end the need for fault-based divorce. These changes represent a radical social change to try and limit the blame and bitterness of marital breakdown. Justice Secretary David Gaulke said that the changes would help to ‘end the blame game’.
Currently, if the separation has been less than two years, the spouse petitioning for divorce is required to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down for one of the following reasons:-
- Adultery by the other spouse
- Behaviour of the other spouse being unreasonable
- Desertion by the other spouse
Under the new proposals the spouse will simply have to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, without the need to blame.
Divorce proceedings where blame is required can increase stress and tension at a very difficult time. If this can be removed it will be of enormous benefit to separating couples and their children.
Furthermore, the ability of the spouse receiving the petition to contest the divorce is expected to be removed. Contested divorce proceedings are rare and are an expensive and time-consuming process generating further unpleasantness and ill feeling between the parties.
It is expected that the new legislation will also introduce a six month minimum period that must elapse between the time that the divorce petition is sent to the court and the divorce being final. This will give separating spouses time to reflect and decide on whether to continue with the divorce before the marriage is finally brought to an end.
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