No Fault Divorce

No Fault Divorce

For the first time in the UK no fault divorce is to be introduced.

Under current UK law the only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.  To prove this to the court the Petitioner (the person who brings the divorce) has to rely on one of five facts in his or her petition (the document sent to the court by the Petitioner setting out the grounds for divorce).  If the parties have not been separated for 2 years then the only facts are either the other parties’ adultery or their unreasonable behaviour.  If they have been separated for more than 2 years they can only divorce if the other party agrees otherwise it is necessary to wait for 5 years.  Sometimes of course there is no fault, the parties have just grown apart but if they haven’t been separated for 2 years they have to lay the blame for the breakdown of the marriage firmly at their spouses door.  This inevitably leads to more hostility and increased legal fees.

Under new legislation which is at the first stage through Parliament and which will apply to both marriages and civil partnerships, will remove the need to show “fault” and will end the right of the other party to contest a petition.  Couples will however have a minimum six month period to “allow for reflection” between the Petition being issued and the decree absolute which ends the marriage.

It is hoped that this will help end acrimony between divorcing couples and allow them to move forward and reach agreement on other issues such as finances and their children.

If you need advice on any element of the breakdown of your marriage or relationship we can help.  Contact Karen Weiner on 020 8371 7400 or to arrange an initial consultation

This article was written by Karen Weiner, Head of Family.

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